|Glory O'Brien's History of the Future
A. S. King
"So we drank it - the two of us."
In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last--a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.
Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way...until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions--and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.
Okay, can I first just gush about how beautiful that cover is!!! I'm adding A.S. King to the list of "must read the day the book comes out" Authors. She is excellent! I don't read very much YA but I'd fit her somewhere between the boundaries of contemporary literature and young adult. This book won't be published until October but after reading the blurb, I knew I needed to start this one right away. Glory O'Brien is a reclusive girl with a "convenient" best friend who lives on a commune across the street. Glory lives with her father and they both seem to be trapped/stuck in this small bubble, Glory's mother passed away (suicide) when she was five and both of them haven't taken the appropriate grieving steps (they haven't taken ANY grieving steps). To make matters worse, Glory's "best friend", term used very loosely, is so self centered that she she can't see anything going on in her friend's life. Glory even made up a [laugh track] for whenever her friend says something selfish, which had me giggling throughout the book.
There is a dark humor here, and that is my FAVORITE kind of humor. The Author took this really, really strange concept (another thing I love) and created a beautifully sad story that opens up to the bigger picture of growing up under dark circumstances. Let's talk about the strange concept, I think it's worth mentioning that the story revolves around Glory and her friend deciding to drink a petrified bat which leads to giving them the power to see people's history and future. I think that needed to be said, mostly because I know a few people wouldn't want to get past that and try to see the bigger picture and the beauty behind her writing. I love that King uses this strange premise, but I'm not everyone.
I adored the chapter titles, each one named after something insignificant that happens in that particular short chapter. The titles are truly that, titles. Glory names the photos she takes similarly and each one has this glimmer of brilliancy that shines beneath it's boring facade. Titles such as: Am I Making Any Sense?, Ripping Meat From the Bone, Everything Tasted Like Radiation, It Was the Nineties. After Glory gets powers to see the past/future, the Author adds a chapter from the journal Glory starts making, this sheds a little light into what she sees. This part of the book isn't the important part, or even the truly good part. The side of Glory recognizing the things she needs to move on into adulthood, that is what makes this story amazing. The realizations Glory comes across, those pieces we learn along the way of life... things like, "I don't HAVE to be friends with that person", "I don't HAVE to be boy obsessed", "I don't HAVE to take the same path as everyone else". That is where the beauty lies in Glory O'Brien's History of the Future.