Tuesday, February 07, 2023

26. Falling Out of Time

Falling Out of Time. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2023. [May] 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Zola's entire room began to glow--the sign that it was ready.

Premise/plot: Zola Keyser lives a picture-perfect life, albeit a lonely life. True almost ALL of the problems facing the world have been solved, which is fantastic, but her mom [Hannah Keyser] is the only human she has any actual contact with. But can she miss what she's never known? Maybe. Maybe not. This is just how the world works--all connections are made through VR goggles. But when Zola discovers a note written on paper [tattered old paper] in her Insta-Closet with a cryptic (or cryptic-ish) message*, her world begins to unravel. Soon one question becomes a dozen becomes a hundred becomes a thousand. Is anything in her wonderful life actually true? 

Puck does NOT live a picture-perfect life. In fact, his life is as un-perfect as it can get. It almost feels scripted to depict the absolute worst case scenario. If it wasn't for the kindness of strangers--acting in complete secrecy--he may not even be alive. But Puck can't help yearning for a better life. If only he could get more help, better help....

Falling Out of Time is a companion book [or sequel] to Running Out of Time. Jessie Keyser's story does enter into this one. Zola reads Jessie's story in an actual physical book-book. [This is her first time to read an actual paper book.] The two books connect in a believable way, in my opinion. While Running Out of Time has people [a community] idealizing the past and the past's ideals, this one features a community idealizing or romanticizing the future.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved the first book. Until reading this one, however, I really never connected the dots that it could parallel an escaping a cult story. In retrospect, it makes sense. Especially in terms of WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, what happens once you've "seen the light" and "made your escape." How do your rebuild your life? restructure your worldview? How do you make peace with the past and move forward? 

This book asks some good questions. What would it have been like for Jessie's family in the following years [decades]? Would they miss the old life? Would they fit in with the modern world? Would they always feel out of place?

But Zola's story is HER own story. It isn't just a re-do. I enjoyed meeting Puck, her first, non-related human contact. I loved how this story unfolded.

 *If you want to see things as they really are, come find me. And HELP us!

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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