In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, mass human migrations are constant, water and food are scarce, new babies are illegal, and the disintegrating society is run by corporates who feed the people a steady diet of "pharma" to keep them happy. Usually, 17-year-old Nat doesn't let it get her down too much: this, after all, is the life she's used to; and though she is nostalgic for the ancient world she's heard about, she's also realistic, cheerful, and tough. But now her family - her parents and her hacker brother, Sam - have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents' Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long - so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts. Nat's family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis, where their parents have bought a "vacation contract".
Counting down the days till her parents are scheduled to die, Nat keeps a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel's care package. When Sam rebels against the corporates his parents have hired to handle their last days, Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night? Or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?
This pause-resisting first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet's characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young listeners.
Biographical Note: Lydia Millet is the author of seven novels for adults as well as a story collection called Love in Infant Monkeys (2009), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her first book for middle-grade readers, The Fires Beneath the Sea, was one of Kirkus' Best Children's Books of 2011, as well as a Junior Library Guild selection. Millet works as an editor and writer at a nonprofit in Tucson, Arizona, where she lives with her two young children.
"One of the most acclaimed novelists of her generation." (Los Angeles Times)
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An Unexpected Pleasure