Book Review: Shelter of Leaves by Lenore H. Gay (Four Stars)

Book Review: Shelter of Leaves by Lenore H. Gay

Four Stars

“It’s easy to disappear if you have nothing to lose.”

A different take on post-apocalyptic literature: this story (essentially) happens now. And the triggering events spring from today’s headlines, not from the science or opinion pages. The story opens in confusion and terror, as Sabine is knocked out of today and into the twilight zone. When things can’t get worse, they do … much worse.

“Screw forgiveness–I want revenge.”

Good pace: slowly accelerating. We walk with Sabine as she gathers the shattered shards of who she is and what she’ll do. Not a pure four star, but rounded up because it’s Lenore’s first published novel.

“No one would tell the truth anyway.”

Gay works the tension between people adapting to the maybe-apocalypse and wanting to return to normal. Remember after 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina? The national unity and shared purpose lasted about two days. Then the finger pointed started.

“… ordered her around like a bratty kid.”

Told with a very close focus on an unreliable, certainly fractured main character. Everyone has fears, goals, and secrets. Allies and betrayers come in all shapes and sizes. The farther a character gets from Sabine, the more cartoon-ish she or he becomes.

“Monotony laced with dread.”

Quibbles: First, the sun set at [location redacted] on Aug 3, 2014 at 9:17 PM EDT. The half-full moon rose at 12:08 AM and set at 1:30 PM. Hard to have “Moonlight blended with … over the inky waters of the bay” at 8 PM that evening. Second, State governors appoint replacements to fill US Senate and House vacancies. Subsequent elections confirm or replace those appointed.

“… the righteous power of a mother of a dead child.”

Written as if for young adult readers, but not appropriate for them.

“Everything’s about intent.”

(Full disclosure: I’m in Lenore’s writers group.)