Thursday, August 13, 2020

E by Fraser Small

EE by Fraser Small
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great new young adult post-apocalyptic story with a surprising twist!

Alexandria E. Monroe, “E” to her friends and family, woke up that morning expecting a school day like any other. But as she headed downstairs for breakfast, her mother wasn’t in the kitchen or anywhere in the house. Guessing she was making a quick trip to the shops, E settled down to a bowl of cereal and didn’t worry about it. However, as their regular time to leave for school came and still no sign of her mother, she felt the first little niggling of worry begin, especially when she found her mom’s cellphone left behind in the living room. Too far to walk to school, she was left to hang out at home and watch some television, but then the power went out. When her best friend never contacted her to find out why she wasn’t in school, she really began to wonder what was going on. No one had posted to social media since the day before. No one: the friend, the police, nor the fire department answered their phones. E fell asleep that night on the stairs watching the door and waiting for her mother to return.

When she couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on any longer, E ventured out of the house and headed down to the village. For the first time, she noticed how quiet it was. Everywhere. Not a car, a plane, no noise. That’s where she realized she was completely and utterly alone.

E is a great new young adult post-apocalyptic story with a surprising twist. It follows the main character, E, over a three year period starting when she’s a young 13-year-old to just after her 16th birthday. I thought the author did a great job portraying her as a typical but sheltered teen as she goes through so many stages of loss, grief, and other emotions all on her own. Of course, she changes over the course of the book under the weight of this loss and apocalyptic event, and she uses what talents she has to survive when everyone she knows and loves goes missing. I liked how she went to the local library to research how to do whatever she needed to have done. I liked that the author chose for her to have a hearing impairment, which emphasized how London’s ambient sounds changed so drastically with the removal of human activity.

The action is set in London and the surrounding areas, and I enjoyed the incorporation of recognizable places and things in the story. Even small things like the inclusion of the Oyster card for the turnstiles made this more realistic. Seeing what happens to these known places has its own poignancy.

Because there are no people for E to interact with, the author relies on flashbacks and a series of notes from her fun-loving Uncle Robert to skillfully move the story forward. Animals take on a significant role in E’s new reality. As I read, I couldn’t help but compare what was going on with E emotionally to how people are reacting to the current COVID-19 safeguards, many of whom have found themselves in isolated circumstances, or at least with much-reduced contact with friends, family, or coworkers. As E mentions in the book, her ability to deal with her total lack of others may have been her strength, she was singularly prepared to survive this better than anyone she knew due to her isolation from schoolmates as a child with a disability.

I highly recommend E by Fraser Small to readers of young adult post-apocalyptic fiction. It is well-written, easy-to-read, and held my attention until the very last page. Although I didn’t agree with every choice the main character makes, I certainly understood and rooted for her every exciting step of the way. There is a twist to the story, unlike similar stories I’ve read, and it adds to the enormity of the story’s vast unknown.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an ARC from Reedsy Discovery.

See my original review on Reedsy Discovery!

1 comment:

Fraser said...

Hi Karen,

I hope you don't mind me contacting you via the comments section of your review of E. I am the writer, and a very nervous first-time writer at that. I just wanted to say a massive thank you for reading and reviewing the book, it really means a lot to me. I truly love the main character and her struggle, and hope to get the book published one day.

Kindest Regards,