Major nerd points to Kristy Acevedo! This book took me such a long time to finish, not because I was bored but because I didn’t want it to be over! I wanted to spend more time with Alex and the crazy lady. My favourite characters in this book were the crazy lady (she was also my favourite from the first book but I admit I was wrong about who I thought she’d turn out to be), the loveable cuddly bear Dr A., and SIDEKICK.
When I received a copy of Contribute from NetGalley I took a closer look and realised it was the second book of a two book series. I was so excited about Contribute but made the decision to take the plunge and buy the first book (Consider) and read that first. I’m so glad I did! While Contribute could be read as a standalone if you really, really wanted to, you gain so much from having experienced Consider first. The first book was a 5 star book for me and this one has to be as well. It’s not often that second books in a series don’t fall flat on their paperback faces.
I won’t wreck either book for you because you need to read them for yourself but during the first book the world is counting down to an apocalypse and individuals are given the choice to stay on earth and hope for the best, even though it’s an extinction level event, or take a chance on the unknown by travelling through a hologram (vertex) to a parallel world. During the second book you follow the final person through the vertex to whatever is on the other side. The blurbs give you more information than this but I’d recommend reading the first book before looking at the blurb for this one.
While the first book had a large focus on Alex’s mental health and it’s still explored in this book to a lesser degree, the overall feel of this book felt darker than the first book to me. I loved the darkness and felt it was necessary in this book. There was a war to fight after all.
Reading this book reminded me of one of lines from Powder (love that movie!!!) that Jeff Goldblum’s character says, “It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” This quote is generally attributed to Einstein although there’s no evidence he ever said it, but that’s not my point. Contribute offers one possible outcome for society when technology beyond our wildest dreams becomes available and raises so many questions.
Do you trust what the leaders of another society tell you if you never see them in person, only as holographic representations?
If you had the chance to live a life of leisure with free food, free accommodation, free entertainment, free everything, and no work, and all you had to do in exchange was pledge that upon your death your mind minus emotions would be used to power the society for a set period of time, would you do it?
If it sounds too good to be true, is it?
Possibly most importantly, if you had clothes that allowed you to change their holographic design at whim, could you pull off an ocean themed design with sharks swimming across it?
Just like in book one, I spent most of my time reading a few paragraphs, then highlighting either a sentence or a paragraph, then rereading my highlighted passage, then reading a few paragraphs, then highlighting … You get the point. Lots of wonderfully thought out sentences that made me pause and want to think about them and save them for future rereads.
My only real quibble with this book is that the final act felt a bit rushed to me. There was such a lead up to it and yet it felt like, we’re fighting, we’re fighting, we’re winning, we’re losing, we’re … What? It’s over? Although to be fair, maybe I just didn’t want the series to finish.
Ms Acevedo, I really hope you’re hard at work writing your next book. No pressure or anything but I’m sitting here waiting for it!
Oh, and a review of this book wouldn’t be complete without a creepy “May your contribution lead to freedom”.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flux for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
The holograms lied to everyone on Earth and only Alexandra Lucas knows the truth. Now she’s trapped in the year 2359 without family or friends —worse, without her anxiety medication. Alex attempts to reconcile the marvelous scenery, technological advances, and luxurious living with the knowledge that the holograms weren’t being completely honest — what else are they lying about?
With a secret that could shatter her society, Alex tries to find her place among strangers, convicts, and a rebellion striving to bring the holograms down. Alex struggles to find the best way to reveal the truth and reunite with those she loves. But when surrounded by beauty and every convenience, Alex wonders if truth becomes irrelevant in a perfect world.