Review of Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus OnePlus One
Elizabeth Fama
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: ARC

A copy was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

My Thoughts:
I loved the concept of this book- an alternative reality/history in which to survive the 1918 flu pandemic people were segregated between living during the day or night. I found the social divide being illustrated by which hours a person was permitted to live to be incredibly gripping and interesting. Fama was able to illustrate her world realistically, her writing was concise and beautiful. I’ve not seen this broached before in a world not populated by vampires so I was thrilled to be able to read this book. And, let’s be honest, that cover is absolutely stunning.

My only qualm about this story was the main story device of Soleil needing, in essence, to steal her niece from the hospital. Having a child myself I found this to be disturbing because of my empathy towards the pain the parent’s had to feel. Also, for someone to steal a baby from its parents had me a bit iffy about our main character. Not only was her plan poorly thought out but even considering to steal your brother’s baby just felt so wrong to me. As I continued to read I did grow accustomed and enjoyed the surrounding world so much I was able to overlook this discomfort.

The pacing was fast and the story fluid. Fama was able to incorporate flash back moments that gave depth to Sol, insight into her life before things started to fall apart and depth into this world. In many books the use of flashbacks disrupt the overall flow of the writing but this wasn’t the case in Plus One.  Not only was the world original but the characters were all well rounded. Even if I wasn’t able to agree with their actions I was able to understand their motivations.

As stated above I had a rough start with our main character, Sol. As I read her motivations became clearer and I began to like her. She was a bold, loyal and stubborn character that could win anyone over with enough time. Even though I found a knee jerk reaction to be repulsed by the decision to steal a baby, somehow Sol was able to actually have me hoping she’d succeed. She was so determined and genuine in her desires it was hard to not empathize with her. Above all, I enjoyed seeing her learn from mistakes and grow, which she did a good amount of. Her interactions with others, especially those that lived in the Day were incredibly insightful not only about her but about the divide between the people of this society.

D’Arcy was beautifully crafted and my favorite character. I loved his sense of morality and his ability to support and believe in what he felt was right. His family history and interactions fascinated me and displayed a bit more into the world. Fama created such a complex and in depth world that layers deep and hard to even articulate how much I appreciated the thought and care she took in her world building. I felt that each character, and D’Arcy especially, was able to give me a connection into this world.

From looking at that cover I went into this expecting a romance to swoon over. Be prepared that it was not as prevalent as the cover leads you to believe. There were some beautiful moments (late in the book) but I felt that it was just shy of being incredibly romantic. I had hoped for more of a star crossed lovers vibe than was actually present.

Final Thoughts:
This was my first book to read by Elizabeth Fama. I was blown away with her world building and expertise in creating well rounded, deep characters capable of realistic interactions and motivations. Though I wasn’t enthusiastic about some of the story devices the writing style, world and characters overshadowed any negatives.

Comments

  1. says

    This one sounds pretty cool. I’m glad you were able to start to like Sol, despite her crazy decision. And I was worried there would be too much romance in this one for me based on the cover, so I’m actually happy that it’s not super prevalent.

  2. says

    I want it. That is all. EXCEPT–you’re right, stealing a child from the hospital is iffy, and the desire to do so (regardless of the reasoning) combined with not making a good plan to carry it out reeks of teenagery impulsiveness. Still . . . I want it 😉

  3. says

    Great review sweetie. <3 I'm sorry you didn't fully love it, but still happy that you liked it 😀 I loved this book so much. <3 And ahh. D’Arcy. He was the best, wasn't he? 🙂

  4. says

    I really want to read this one (and I love the cover), but I’ve heard other reviewers saying the EXACT same thing about the baby! That kind of worries me too, because I’m a childcare worker and ermahgawsh my precious little babies that I look after. I’m a bit worried that that part will be unrealistic? Still, great review, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! 🙂

    • says

      You are a childcare worker <3 I had a bit of issues with the concept but felt it was done pretty well. The baby was not mistreated (thank God).

  5. says

    Thanks for a great review, Kristen!
    With strong world building and less romance than what it seems to be guessed from the synopsis I’m actually way more interested in the book than I would have been just by reading the summary.

    • says

      Yay! That’s what I like to hear 🙂 It’s funny to see how many people are happy the romance isn’t as strong in this book as the cover leads you to believe. I can’t wait to see what you think of it.

  6. says

    The baby stealing was a little weird, but I was able to understand it because Sol’s reasoning, although slightly insane, was emotionally relatable. You can see where she’s coming from….

    • says

      In the beginning I struggled a bit but after getting to know the secondary cast I understood it a lot more and could empathize with her and her situation.

  7. says

    I have heard some brilliant reviews about this one and the cover is especially beautiful. I love when all the elements of a book come together, like the world building and characters. Brilliant review, Kristen! 🙂

  8. says

    I love this cover, I have seen some good reviews about this book. I love that it has an awesome world build, I have been reading a lot of books that lack the build. SO glad you liked this 🙂
    Awesome review! Just one more book to add to my list.

    • says

      I adore the cover. I can’t wait to pet my hardcover when I get it. So beautiful. I’ve been reading a lot that lack the world too. So happy to see a strong one. I hope you love it!

  9. says

    I’m glad to hear this one doesn’t have as much romance as the cover implies, though the premise doesn’t really grab me. And I agree; the baby snatching thing sounds a little hard to get used to. Nice review! 🙂

    • says

      I really want to read Fama’s other book, Monstrous Beauty. It sounds wonderful. Have you read it? If you read this one I will be interested in hearing your thoughts.

  10. Evette says

    I am so happy I read your review. I have to say that I was totally judging this book by it’s cover. I really thought the book was going to be a love story and I tend not to read romance novels. I just so happened to see that you enjoyed the book and decided to read through your review and am excited to read that it is not the romance book that the cover makes it seem. I loved your review. It was informative and after reading it I am super excited to read this book. I just wanted to say thank you. I would have totally passed up this book. 🙂

    • says

      This is such a beautiful comment. Thank you so much…I can’t tell you how much it means to me that my review helped you decide on whether to read this or not. Thank YOU for letting me know my review was helpful <3

  11. says

    I’m so freaking excited to read this one. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers uncomfortable with the kidnapping aspect, but since I’m forewarned I think that it will bother me less. I’m really looking forward to the world and characters and it is a relief to me that the story isn’t as romance focused as the cover, though I still love the beauty of the cover 😉

    • says

      Anya, I can’t wait to see what you think about it! I think warning about the baby thing will help a lot. I know it would have helped me to get over that little road block.

  12. says

    I’m so glad you like Plus One. It is one of my most anticipated books mostly because of it’s intriguing storyline and it is great to see it’s getting some great reviews. Kidnapping does sound weird, but I’m still very excited to read it. Also, the cover is just beautiful! Great review Kristen!

  13. says

    I do think that cover is a tad deceiving because when I read the book, it just had a placeholder, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Except that it was an Elizabeth Fama story and I already know her writing is gorgeous. Still, I liked the romance. 😉 I also didn’t mind the wonky storyline with Sol stealing the baby and smuggling it in her sweatshirt and not really caring for it as if it were her niece. Papu was numero uno for her, so I could see trying to fulfill his dying wish no matter what. Sort of. I mean, it’s not something I would do. But people have done stranger things for those they love. Idk…I think Fama could sell me any story and I’d buy it. I might be biased. 🙂

    • says

      All very good points there. Fama is incredibly talented and had me rooting for Sol midway. I’m with you and Fama could sell me on anything too. I really must read Monstrous Beauty soon.

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