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Pacifica    by Kristen Simmons order for
by Kristen Simmons
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Kristen Simmons' Pacifica is a YA dystopian with plenty of action on land and at sea. Our hero, Ross Torres, is an aristocrat of sorts. Our heroine, Marin Carey, comes from a corsario (pirate) family, with a very tough upbringing, and a personal history that has exiled her from her island home.

Ross's father George, the Noram President, recently passed a Relocation Act, setting up a lottery to select five hundred citizens from the slums below the cliffline (Shorelings) for a fresh start on a man-made, secret island, Pacifica - pictures of it are idyllic. Ross's best friend, Adam Baker, is the Vice President's son. Adam's family were Shorelings and his father opposes the Relocation Act.

There are protests against the Act, and Ross persuades his reluctant friend to head down to watch the riots. Of course, this does not turn out well. Adam disappears and Ross is hauled home by his security guard. Before that, though, he encounters Marin, and sparks fly. When Adam is not found, a guilty Ross again evades his security detail to seek out his friend. Marin joins his quest (for a price) and they set out in her boat, in search of Pacifica.

What they find is shocking, opening Ross's eyes to many things of which he was unaware before. He and Marin barely survive many violent encounters, but do eventually manage to publicize what they've discovered, and change their world for the better.

Though this story starts slowly, the pace picks up and accelerates to a satisfying conclusion. Enjoy Pacifica, and don't miss reading the Author's Note at the beginning, that describes how her own Japanese-American heritage inspired her novel.

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