cover image America Pacifica

America Pacifica

Anna North, Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-10512-5

In her dark, page-turning debut, North tells the story of Darcy, an 18-year-old girl in a dystopian future whose mother goes missing. For as long as she can remember, Darcy has lived on America Pacifica, an isolated island nation, home to refugees from a mainland ravaged by drastic climate change. Their government is run by a Big Brother–like autocrat named Tyson whose strict social hierarchy allows the richest residents to live in luxury while most citizens live in hovels and can barely afford food. Despite these circumstances, Darcy and her mother, Sarah, are otherwise happy until one day when Sarah doesn't return from work. With no resources or leads, Darcy vows to find her mother, a mission aided by a tip from one of America Pacifica's first arrivals and the help of a dissident named Ansel. As Darcy follows a trail of clues and lands in some tense situations, North cleverly combines elements from other popular modern stories—a brave young heroine on an against-all-the-odds quest on a strange island with shocking secrets. Although the narrative and prose don't always excite with originality, the story—and the wealth of detail in a vividly imagined world—is memorable. (May)