Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Be A Revo-lit-ionary

Jacqui Castle’s The Seclusion imagines a too-believable future in which America is literally walled off from the rest of the world.

Be A Revo-lit-ionary

BOOK REPORT for The Seclusion (Untitled #1) by Jacqui Castle

Cover Story: Keep Out
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Frightening Future
Bonus Factor: Books
Anti-Bonus Factor: Giant Segregating Walls
Relationship Status: Co-Conspirators

Cover Story: Keep Out

Giant walls are rarely a good thing, and the uncertainty of if the woman on this cover is being kept out of something—or in—is a pretty foreboding feeling.

The Deal:

In the future, America has literally walled itself off from the rest of the world. The Board, the new leaders of the country, say that it’s for the safety of all Americans, and those who try to question them are branded traitors. Patricia Collins is a patriot through and through, content to live her life as The Board says to, doing her job as a surveyor and researcher in the Natural Resource Department.

Until, that is, the day she and her partner Rexx, discover something that will change their lives forever: relics from the past, including a suitcase full of the most dangerous contraband of all—books.

BFF Charm: Maybe

At the start of The Seclusion, Patricia is a naive, innocuous young woman who doesn’t know any better. She’s lived her whole life under the thumb of The Board, and she thinks the way of life they’ve prescribed for America is the best way. Were I in her shoes, I don’t know that I’d be much different. But since I’m not, it’s a little hard for me to determine whether we’d make good friends. I feel like she’d turn me in for traitorous thoughts pretty early on in our relationship.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

There’s something between Patricia and Rexx, but the fact that he used to date (quite seriously) her best friend has her keeping him at an arm’s length. But passions can flare when people find themselves in stressful situations ...

Talky Talk: Frightening Future

I’m not sure when the idea for The Seclusion first came to Castle, but the idea of a walled-off America isn’t too far removed from our current political climate, and that makes it all the more terrifying. Additionally terrifying is the book’s examination of the malleability of history—as people say, it’s written by the victors—and the idea that only a couple of generations from now, Americans could know next to nothing about the past or the larger world in which they live. (FAKE NEWS.) Castle makes this scary future realistic and all-too believable.

The pacing of the novel leaves a little to be desired, however. At only 300 pages, it’s a quick read, but the worldbuilding is a little lackluster, mostly because the story needs to quickly progress to the action stage from the introduction. I would have liked to learn a little more about Patricia and her life; as boring as it seems to live in post-seclusion America, it would have helped to make her sudden switch from patriot to “traitor” more convincing.

Bonus Factor: Books

To quote The Doctor, “Books! The best weapons in the world.” Even against tyrannical fascism.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Giant Segregating Walls

Eff that noise. Eff it real hard.

Relationship Status: Co-Conspirators

You and I don’t agree on everything, Book, but we certainly feel very similar about the power of books. If we work together, we just might be able to make some serious change.

Literary Matchmaking:

  

● For another dystopian novel featuring walls, try The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

● For another dystopian novel with a society run by a corporation, check out Jessica Shirvington’s Disruption.

● And for another dystopian novel that’s arguably the best of the YA genre, read (or re-read) The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, starting with The Hunger Games.


FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Inkshares, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Seclusion is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
K