Review: Greener

GreenerGreener (Not A Pipe Publishing, 2018) by Heather Ransom

Calyssa Brentwood of Going Green is back in a sequel that’s even better than the first book. In that volume, she wasn’t yet fully Green—a genetic enhancement that allows humans to photosynthesize, saving resources and time so they can devote themselves to bettering their community (with a side effect of improved health and attractiveness.) She became close to the Non-Green Staytons, even falling in love with hunky Gabe, and blamed herself for a terrorist bombing at their farm.

Greener opens eights months later, with Lyssa fully Green, in college, working an internship at her father’s company Advanced Human Genetics Assessments (AHGA), and helping care for her sister Livvy as she recovers from a near-lethal viral infection that has left her yellow and unable to photosynthesize. Lyssa uses her internship for secret investigations into possible corruption among SciCity’s Security Enforcers.

Lyssa is drawn back to the Stayton farm when her friend Ana Stayton dies from a black market Green enhancement gone wrong. Meanwhile, her new friend Ayva is into Nock, an enhancement to the enhancement from a private, unregulated lab that makes Greens Greener with party-drug side effects … but it also has a dark, dangerous side. And Livvy has a few secrets of her own. Everybody seems to, including Lyssa and Livvy’s long-lost mother. Themes of secrecy, loss and regret are woven through the narrative, as well as those of peer pressure, community, and loyalty.

Lyssa thinks she knows about loss, but also recognizes her privilege. She lost her mother as a child, had to give up her first love (who now blames her for his sister’s death), and nearly lost her own sister to the virus. In this book, the losses pile up and even wealth and power can’t shield her.

I was glad to see that music still plays an important role in Lyssa’s life. Her family is after her to choose a practical career, but playing cello is where she really comes alive and feels a connection to her mother. I particularly appreciated the realistic but compassionate portrayal of a college freshman, who feels so much more mature and knowing than she was in high school but is still naive and vulnerable. Lyssa believes she is a better spy than a pro, who is secretly keeping tabs on her and Livvy. Lyssa is unusually susceptible to the attentions of handsome genius Maddax Steele and can’t quite bring herself to ask if that’s why he’s paying attention to her. She takes crazy risks, pulling back before anyone is hurt but with real consequences.

A much bigger plot takes over before Lyssa’s personal dramas can be resolved, so there is still much to come in the inevitable 3rd book. I hope she has her cello with her after the disaster; music may be the thing to save her world.

You can get your copy here:
Oregon Books and Games, Grants Pass: HERE
Barnes & Noble: hardcover HERE, trade paperback HERE
Amazon: hardcover HERE, trade paperback, HERE
Kindle: HERE

Review of: Going Green

going-green-ebook-coverGoing Green by Heather S. Ransom (Not a Pipe Publishing, 2017)

This appealing young-adult novel begins in the shallow end, with high school girls giggling and squealing about the latest development in protagonist Calyssa’s life. From there, it dives deep into issues of class privilege, inequality, and genetic modification in a high-tech post-post-apocalyptic future where the chosen elite get to “go Green.” Calyssa is near the beginning of this process, which enhances humans with modified chloroplasts so they can make energy from sunlight, water and air, freeing up the time that would be spent finding, preparing, and eating food. Green citizens are supposed to use this time making the world a better place, while non-Greens do the necessary grunt work to support them. Meanwhile, anti-GMO rebels are attacking experimental crops outside the safe enclave of SciCity.

Although Calyssa has sympathy for the poor, deprived non-Greens, she believes the party line that those who aren’t chosen

must be less intelligent, less deserving than Greens. A sudden change in Spring Break plans puts her in the home of a friend whose non-Green farming family reveals a side of the class divide she’d never considered. A week with these kind, down-to-earth folk changes her mind about a lot of things—including her friend’s handsome, intelligent brother Gabe. Can love between Green and non-Green survive as tensions heat up between extremists on both sides? The book ends before we find out, but an epilogue hints at sequels yet to come.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book will release March 21, 2017 and is now on preorder:

Amazon

Powells

Barnes & Noble