In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
I'll admit it was the cover of Landry Park that grabbed me first. I mean, look at it. It's stunning! Then I read the synopsis and it sounded like my kind of book, so why not?
But I knew from the first page that Landry Park wasn't just another dystopian swimming in the sea. This was the book that Bethany Hagen wrote for me.
Yeah. I have a book written for me. Well, OK, not just for me, but it felt that way!
It's hard to believe Hagen is a debut author. She writes like a seasoned vet with beautiful descriptions and lush settings, decorating by enigmatic characters that entranced me from the start. Madeline is one of the best, most true heroines I've ever read because this girl admits her faults.
Bother Madeline and David are from the upper layer of upper crust society. They have the money, the titles, the family name ... But they feel compelled to help Rootless society (basically the bottom of the barrel group that lost the war and has been enslaved because of it). While this seems like a normal YA storyline, what grabbed me was their honesty about their situations. Madeline genuinely wanted to help the Rootless ... but she struggled with sacrificing her cushy lifestyle. Some of you may call that weak, but I call it honest. Let's face it: We all want to help those less fortunate. But are you ready to hand over all your money for that to happen? Are you willing you never buy a book again if it means you could feed a homeless person with that same money? I feel like that side is never addressed and I applaud Hagen for taking her characters to that level.
There are several twists that I didn't see coming, that floored me and nicely set up book 2. The romance between Madeline and David is a little frustrating, but just bear with it and trust me there is a reason for everything. Overall, I adored this book and think everyone should read it ASAP!
AUTHOR BIO:Librarian by day, Bethany Hagen is the author of the forthcoming LANDRY PARK, set to be released from Dial on Feb. 4, 2014 She lives in Kansas City with her husband and two children.
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