The Country of Ice Cream Star

Sandra Newman. Ecco, $26.99 (576p) ISBN 978-0-06-222709-6
Newman’s latest depicts a dystopian future in which America has been decimated by “Posies,” a powerful plague that leaves few living beyond 20 years of age. Ice Cream Star, the novel’s 15-year-old narrator, is a member of the Sengles tribe of the Massa Woods, which was once Massachusetts. Ice Cream’s brother, Driver, the 18-year-old leader of the Sengles, has just begun coughing—the first telltale sign of the plague. During a standard raid of an abandoned neighborhood for left-behind supplies, Ice Cream and her fellow raiders capture Pasha, a stranger to Massa, who is a shocking 30 years old and knows a rumor about a Posies cure. Ice Cream begins her harrowing adventure to find it and save her brother—and maybe the rest of the country in the process. Written entirely in the broken English of these short-lived children, now generations removed from the plague’s onset, Newman’s novel is ambitious, taking on race, sex, class, religion, politics, and war all at once. What sets the work apart is its unapologetic narrator, whose fantastically unbridled, wholly teenage point of view renders each page a pleasure to read. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/22/2014
Release date: 02/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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