I am so very excited to share this week’s Book of the Week. It was incredibly enjoyable book and I love sharing an author’s debut novel! Check it out!
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Part of a Series?:
I believe its the first book of a series :)
You May Like if You Liked:
The Selection by Kiera Cass, Legend by Marie Lu
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.
This book immediately caught my eye when I saw it in the bookstore. One, I had no idea who the author was, nor was her name even the slightest bit familiar. Two, her cover is so noticeable! Its absolutely gorgeous and so dark and mysterious looking. I kept seeing it all over the place and so finally, I decided to buy it.
And I am so glad that I did.
The thing about dystopian novels is that they start to kind of run together. They have the same sort of basis and so it can be difficult to make yours stand out amongst the rest. The thing about Bethany’s novel that really caught me that instead of being told from the point of view from someone at the bottom of the food chain, knowing something needs to change, she told the story from someone at the top, and someone at the very top.
Madeline is the heiress to Landry Park, the center of this new United States. Her ancestor invented a sort of power source that kept them afloat before the Eastern enemies could completely take them over. This has left the Landry family with incredible power, incredible wealth and incredible estate, and Madeline is set to inherit it all. She is comfortable. She has servants, and food and pretty clothes at every corner. Her primary objective in life would be to find a husband and produce an heir. Like a princess. But her actual objective is to go to university and be educated.
And I think this is what really makes Bethany’s novel so strong, in my opinion. She has a very wealthy character, one who really has no reason to want things to change and yet she puts her on the path to believing that the world she lives in is wrong and that it does need to be change. And while I love the physical strength of a female character (Katniss, Tris, June, etc), I love that Madeline is strong in her own right, using her intelligence. Instead of heading down to a punching bag every day or shooting arrows with her bow, she wants to learn and learn and use that intelligence for better. I think that’s a very powerful thing. Sometimes I think people forget that a character doesn’t have to be an actual fighter to be an incredibly strong character, and Madeline is a prime example of that.
But I also just love the world that Bethany has created. I really admire the authors that include the rest of the world. I know sometimes its hard to do that, because the society is so controlled, they really have no access to outside information, like in THG or Divergent, but I love when its addressed. It’s one thing to make one country of many fall apart but to address that the same sort of things happened all over the world is awesome, and I love that. I love that she gave the U.S. that vulnerability and that they lost part of their states (though my beloved state is part of that…). I think if something were to truly happen that would send us into a sort of dystopian state, I think the world would be chomping at the bit to get a part of this huge country so I appreciated that she sort of…wrote the history the way I think it would happen.
And it was just beautiful. The houses, the dresses, the parties, the scandal. All of that sort of thing. This is supposed to be future us, but as you read it, you feel sort of regressed. The idea of the debut, and choosing a husband that could secure your future, or the future of your family and their finances. Women being used a financial tool. It seemed familiar and it was almost sort of scary, like we could regress in the future. But as much as it was so hard to watch, it was also like a car accident, you couldn’t look away. While people are starving, getting sick from the radiation, not even citizens in this new world, you are watching Landry at this incredibly lavish parties with these carefree, selfish people and it makes you turn the page to see what she’s going to do about it.
Also, I truly love the secondary characters that Bethany creates. I won’t say too much because their natures are revealed throughout the story, even to Madeline, so I don’t want to ruin that. But I enjoy mostly getting to know David and Cara and their roles in all of this. You think you know both of them when you meet them, and they keep you guessing the whole novel and I still feel like there is so much more to know about them.
The Last Word
This is one of the longest reviews I’ve written and there’s a reason for that. This book makes me want to talk. It makes me want to get into discussion and talk about it and I love that. I love a book that can make me laugh or cry or curse the world but I do truly love a book that can make me think, and set the wheels in my brain in motion, and I think this book can do all of those things. It has the mystery, it has the hints of rebellion, it has aching romance (seriously, my heart literally ACHES for Madeline at times), it has the intrigue, it has it all, and it really makes me want to burst into discussion right after. It would make a seriously amazing book club pick.
So pick up a copy of Bethany’s debut novel and watch out for an interview with her VERY soon!
* * * * * * * *