Monday, July 25, 2011

This Thing Called the Future; J.L. Powers

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press; 1 edition (April 12, 2011)


Khosi lives with her beloved grandmother Gogo, her little sister Zi, and her weekend mother in a matchbox house on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In that shantytown, it seems like somebody is dying all the time. Billboards everywhere warn of the disease of the day. Her Gogo goes to a traditional healer when there is trouble, but her mother, who works in another city and is wasting away before their eyes, refuses even to go to the doctor. She is afraid and Khosi doesn't know what it is that makes the blood come up from her choking lungs. Witchcraft? A curse? AIDS? Can Khosi take her to the doctor? Gogo asks. No, says Mama, Khosi must stay in school. Only education will save Khosi and Zi from the poverty and ignorance of the old Zulu ways.

School, though, is not bad. There is a boy her own age there, Little Man Ncobo, and she loves the color of his skin, so much darker than her own, and his blue-black lips, but he mocks her when a witch's curse, her mother's wasting sorrow, and a neighbor's accusations send her and Gogo scrambling off to the sangoma's hut in search of a healing potion.

My Review

If you read any contemporary YA book's this year make sure this is at the top of that list. The cover of the book was not appealing to me at all. It is more "real" and didn't have all the photoshop done to it. The premise of the book didn't really speak to me either. I know nothing of most other cultures. Really I just wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I did! 

  I know nothing about African living or their way of life, so to me I was going in blind. Khosi the MC, knows all abut AIDS and how to contract it. She is also a virgin and tends to stay that way until she is ready. Khosi may be 14 but in Africa it's normal to start marriage so young. Khosi has a run in with a local drunk and he starts stalking Khosi. The law in Africa is not the same law here. Khosi's mother has also fallen ill, they believe the neighbor had a local witch curse her. All Khosi wants to do is earn an education and use her knowledge to help her own people.

  It's amazing to see the blending of religions and education. I was so wrapped up in the perplexity of another culture and their way of life. I found it so easy to get lost in This Thing Called the Future.  Superior written characters, that streamed perfectly into the plot.  Some points you could feel every stitch of pain caused by so much turmoil. You could also feel the blessings in the little things that happen in life. You learn not to take for granted all that is offered in our own lives. The wonderment of how much was packed into 200+ pages. It may have been short but it was brimming over with perfected words.

  In the end the cover fit perfectly with the book. It had a new found beauty I didn't see before. If you read one YA book this year This Thing Called the Future will not disappoint. I can't help but rave! Bravo J.L. Powers.

Find J.L. Powers here.


Zibilee said...

I think that this book has some really important messages and the plot sounds intriguing. This is not something that I would normally read on my own, but after your recommendation I think that I should probably check it out. This was a great review and I appreciated reading your thoughts on it!

Missie said...

Isn't it the best when you end up really liking the story even if the cover doesn't appeal to you?! I'm glad to know you found a new way to appreciate it when all was said and done.

Khosi sounds like a really memorable character.

Blodeuedd said...

Great review, it certainly sounds like a different book. Not like all the other books out there

Jenny N. said...

This Thing Called the Future definitely sounds different from what I usually read. Its always suprising to read out of your comfort zone and then end up loving what you've just read.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh this does sound like an interesting book. So not like the other YA books out there. It really does sound interesting and I don't think many people do know what it is like in another's culture.

Misha said...

What a great premise! Why had I not heard of it before?! It certainly sounds like a thought provoking book. Thanks for the review!

Jamie Kline (Bookerella) said...

You're right, the cover doesn't immediately make you want to read this book and the synopsis doesn't really sound like something I would normally read, but you made it sound pretty amazing! Sounds like it could be enlightening as well as heartbreaking at times.