#YoungAdult #Fiction #BookReview -- The Smallest Thing by Lisa Manterfield
The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.
But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?
Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.
It’s like the Tragedy Olympics, with everyone competing to prove they are in the most danger of have the most heartbreaking story...Witnessing the deadly demise of those she once knew, she faces a decision of epic ethical proportions. Does she attempt to escape and save herself, or stay and serve the others?
In this engaging, character-driven tale, Emmott’s development is nothing short of amazing. Her growth as a young woman is paramount. While the character development and vivid descriptions of the environment in which the story takes place is impressive, the premise of the story surpasses this feat. The fear that develops during an outbreak of an unknown pathogen is significant. Moreover, such a horrific situation inspires great personal growth.
With a prescriptive dose of suspense, horror, and splash of romance, The Smallest Thing gracefully fictionalizes the story of the village of Eyam, and asks the “what-if” questions. With much needed sensitivity and depth, Manterfield’s story allows us to step into the shoes of a quarantined 17-year old and experience her emotional spirals.
My body folds in at the sight of my secret spot...the stream in the bottom that provided the soundtrack for our romance...the boundary that will keep him out and me in..
Character development: 9/10
Plot development: 9/10
Quality of writing: 10/10
Thought provoking: 10/10
Overall – 65/70 == 92.8% = 4.6/5 stars
Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Southern California with her husband and over-indulged cat. A Strange Companion is her first novel. Learn more at LisaManterfield.com.
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