In the Beginning there was Us by Ingrid Jonach
Genre: Contemporary, Dystopian [?] \\ Futuristic, Romance, Young Adult, Urban Science Fiction
Pages: eBook, 255 pages
Published: 28 April 2015
Source: Copy was provided in exchange for an honest review
Hosted by: Oops I read a book again
Note: I have decided to split the post into two because lengthy posts are lengthy. I have linked the second part of the post below ❤
What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that haunt fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.
The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.
As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.
As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.
This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds.
“Winni!” a girl calls out. Winni? His name’s Elwin. El. Win.
The girl has long blond hair that radiates in the sunlight. “Are you going to the kegger? Can I get a lift?” She bats her eyelashes at him. They look fake, like they belong on a doll.
I look her up and down, noting the black push up bra under her white shirt and the strip of bare skin above her Daisy Dukes. One more inch and she’d be trailer trash.
“Sure,” he says, smiling too wide for my liking. “I have to drop the kids home though.” He tilts his head towards me and Mali.
Mali rolls her eyes as I sigh inwardly.
Elwin introduces the girl as Dana. She looks bored as he tells her our names and when we get to the Thunderbird, she climbs into the front seat without calling shotgun.
I watch her turn up the radio and wind down the window as we roar down the street. Her long hair flicks around in the wind like a whip and I press myself against the back seat, in case it cracks me in the eye.
I watch her bobbing her head along to a song that sounds like two pots being bashed together over and over again and again. My heart sinks when I see that Elwin’s drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.
I reach into my pocket and squeeze the key chain, telling myself that Cole would hate this music and he’d hate girls like Dana.
I close my eyes and imagine Cole sitting beside me in the backseat, instead of Mali, who’s still sulking, slouched in her seat with her arms crossed again.
Cole’s smiling at me though. His fingers inch across the vinyl towards me, until his hand finds my thigh. I lean into him, resting my head on his shoulder.
“Ow! Get off!”
I sit up straight.
Mali’s laughing. “Are you hitting on me, Abbey Baxter?”
For a moment, I’m completely confused. Where’s Cole? My thigh tingles from his touch. But then I realize I’d been daydreaming again. I blush as Elwin glances in the rearview mirror.
“I mean I love you,” Mali’s saying, “but—”
I force myself to laugh. “You know you want me, Mali Kendrick.” Last names are mandatory when we’re being stupid.
Elwin pulls up at my house. “You girls behave yourselves. OK?”
I cringe. Girls. Kids. Rub it in, Elwin.
“Yes, Dad,” Mali says facetiously, as she slides out of the Thunderbird.
We stand on the sidewalk and watch her brother drive off with a toot of his horn. Dana barely bothers to wave. In fact, she might have just been shooing a gnat or gesturing to Elwin.
My stomach clenches as I think about them hanging out at the party. I can see her batting her eyelashes at him. I can see her clutching his hand as they walk through the crowd. I can see her leaning in to kiss him and then he’s kissing her back.
I realize my jaw’s clenched tightly and I release it, before clenching it a second time and then a third time, thinking that if I clench it five times Elwin won’t even talk to Dana tonight. No. Scrap that. He won’t talk to her ever again.
“How about we sneak into the party?” Mali asks, interrupting my OCD.
Her eyes light up when she sees it cross my mind, but then I shake my head. “I need to smother myself in aloe vera and turn up the AC,” I say with a grimace. “I think I have sunstroke.”
It’s the half-truth—my head’s starting to throb and my mouth’s as dry as cotton balls—but the full-truth is that I’ve decided to make up for not spending the night with Elwin by spending it with Cole.
Mali frowns and sticks out a hand to feel my forehead.
“Ow! Sunburn! Remember?”
“Fine. You owe me though. For the two weeks you spent in New York, plus tonight.” Mali pouts. “Pizza for one. Here I come. Again.”
I wince. “Sorry.”
Mali shrugs. “I would give you a hug, but—”
“Sunburn,” I repeat with a small smile.
I take the stairs three at a time, yelling out “Hi” and “Bye” to my parents.
I hear my dad respond from his study, his voice muted by the closed door. My mom’s probably in the bathroom. She likes to read romance novels in the tub until the pages are waterlogged and she shrivels up like a prune.
I almost pull the ladder down on my head in my haste to get to Cole. And when I do reach the top, he’s waiting.
“Hi,” I say breathlessly.
“Hi,” he responds, standing up from the couch.
THE FLOOR IS YOURS: Ingrid Jonach
Why I love writing sci-fi YA
I love writing for young adults—mainly because I like reading young adult novels, so I guess I feel like I’m writing for myself. And, even though I’m now well beyond the traditional age bracket, my favourite contemporary author remains Sarah Dessen (who has just released her twelfth novel Saint Anything. Yay!).
When I was writing books for kids, I used to get asked all the time whether I had kids myself. I somewhat sheepishly replied, ‘No,’ as if this somehow disqualified me from being able to entertain and educate that age group. After all, I was a kid once myself.
And that’s exactly how I look at my obsession with young adult novels. I was—not too long ago—a teenager and it left an indelible mark on me. I think what really appeals to me about writing for young adults is that you’re exploring the transition to adulthood, which gives you some really heavy themes like the loss of innocence and search for identity, coupled with characters who vary vastly in maturity.
I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy—more so than science fiction. The books I adored growing up were mostly supernatural (for example, anything by Australian author Victor Kelleher). I particularly adored the horror genre. I devoured anything with vampires in it (WAY before Twilight) and cut my teeth on R. L. Stine.
When I started pitching my first young adult novel—When the World was Flat (and we were in love)—to agents, I actually described it as a fantasy novel. Embarrassing as this is for someone with a writing degree to admit, I wasn’t a reader of science fiction and thought of it largely as stories set in space (hard science fiction). When I finally pieced together that Albert Einstein and his Theory of Everything were science and NOT fantasy (duh!), I started describing my story as science fiction fantasy and then soft science fiction and now science fiction romance and sometimes speculative fiction. The genre, however, that I think really sums it up is the non-existent genre of urban science fiction (a hypothetical counterpart to urban fantasy).
My follow up young adult novel, In The Beginning There Was Us, is also urban science fiction (I’m just going to go ahead and coin it as a genre). Both of my young adult novels look at re-imagined histories and possible scientific explanations for the inexplicable in a contemporary setting. For example, scientific theories I have developed (or dreamed up) about ghosts and luck. I use the term ‘scientific’ loosely, of course. The theories are only based in science – the rest is based in what if?
You know how kids go through the ‘why?’ phase. They ask what you’re doing and when you tell them they want to know why. And when you tell them why their next question is inevitably, ‘why?’ I think I’ve never left that phase behind. I enjoyed maths at school until my teachers stopped being able to explain to me why I needed to understand trigonometry and calculus. Then I dropped it (something I somewhat regret, but that saw me pass my final exams with flying colours!).
This insatiable curiosity has led me to the science fiction genre. The romance that’s spread throughout my novels is just the icing on the cake. Couple both of those with the young adult demographic and I have so much scope for my imagination!