It’s official! All of my royalties from the first 1000 books will be donated to Eco-Justice. Find out more about this amazing organization.
I am very excited to announce that Code Blue is available for pre-order now on amazon as an e-book or a paperback.
Official book release on April 22nd, Earth Day 2018. Thanks so much to my publisher Moon Willow Press for this excellent idea. I know that Earth Day isn’t traditionally one of those gift giving holidays but maybe this year could be an exception.
Code Blue will be available at Amazon, directly through my publisher and at select independent book sellers.
My publisher is very cool. Moon Willow Press is all about helping to sustain forests while celebrating the written word. All publications, fiction and non-fiction, have an environmental angle. If you have a chance you should definitely check them out.
Made it into my local paper!
Also did another fun podcast interview on The Happiness agenda
I am so grateful to Lisa McDonald and Lou Diamond for having me on their shows. Links will be posted as soon as they are available.
Rising oceans, a vastly changed environment, and people who struggle to survive in this new world are not unusual; but what is notably different in Code Blue is a survival account of this changed world as seen through the eyes of a teen who lives behind a barbed-wire fence that stretches some 28,000 miles, designed to either protect or barricade those within (she’s not quite sure which applies).
Marissa Slaven’s striking observational style captures Tic’s world and deftly contrasts it with our own: “Looking at it from here, if you didn’t know any better, it looks like hundreds of seagulls are standing on the water, walking around on it and building nests, but really they are on the roof of a submerged building. It’s a big roof, almost one million square feet. It’s the roof of what was once the largest shopping mall in New England. I know from watching old videos that it would have been a place where teenagers like me would have met, shopped, eaten, gossiped, hooked up, broken up…in other words spent a lot of time.”
The visual images of what exists now, compared to their original appearance and purposes, are simply stunning, and are part of what captures reader attention and makes this future world seem so familiar and so alien, all at once.
Another important note is that the economic impact of the Change is also covered – and in intimate terms that reveals lifestyle impact; not the usual dispassionate survey of appearances. Perhaps this is because of Marissa Slaven’s use of the first person, which imparts a “you are here” tone to her coverage and thoroughly immerses readers in Tic’s much-changed world and its routines.
Dystopian fiction comes and goes, and too many assume the trappings of formula productions; but the test of any superior story line lies in its ability to draw readers with powerful characterization and associations that lend to a reader’s emotional connections with events as they unfold. Code Blue holds a special ability to juxtapose both the bigger ecological picture with the microcosm of a young adult’s personal challenges as she moves through this world.
Add the mystery of Tic’s father’s research, her determination to assume his task of tackling global climate change by continuing his work as they strive to stave off the effects of rising waters, and new clues about his project that hold frightening impacts for her own studies and ideals and you have a young adult story that should reach well into adult dystopian fiction reader circles as it leads to a critical moment in a complex situation: a tipping point that will change her family, her dreams, and her teetering world.
Code Blue is very, very highly recommended as a blend of sci-fi, eco-thriller, and coming of age story that’s hard to put down, filled with satisfying twists, turns, and even unexpected intrigue.
Intended for a young adult audience, this novel begins at the edge of New England where the former coastline has been obliterated by the rising ocean, a familiar trope but it’s based, as much of the book is, on scientific fact. The descriptions of flooded malls far out to sea are very intriguing and believable. The teen characters—Tic, Lee, Tatum, Asker, Phish—are likeable and easy to relate to as characters, all suffering the stigma of being ‘the smart one’, ‘the weird brain’ or in one case, also belonging to a super-rich family and rebelling against it and its ill-gotten gains. Families of all descriptions are convincingly portrayed here, which is another relief for those of us fed-up with ineffectual fathers being one I.Q. point removed from Homer Simpson and chilly corporate mothers being slaves to the job and the gym.
The structure of the novel is ingenious, with each chapter heading consisting of an entrance exam question for those applying to the Academy, the place where all the smart ones finally have a peer group. This question, beginning with the first chapter’s How Long is the United States coastline? is deftly integrated into the following content so that the world-building is ongoing. It is not a dead-end. This is, I believe, important for this genre of writing, even when there is no paradise to lose. Holding out hope for humanity is especially important for books meant for this readership. The condition of the world in Code Blue, as you would imagine if you know your hospital codes or have gleaned well from Grey’s Anatomy, is dire as in critical cardiac arrest but, an important but, it is not a terminal diagnosis. This then is the state of Tic’s world, independent, stubborn, resourceful and bright young woman that she is.
The momentum of the plot pulls the reader along inexorably and the author, a palliative (hospice) care doctor and mother, as well as a talented writer, does not pull punches in this deeply imagined and well-crafted novel. There are corporate capitalists aligned to make big money off the spoils caused by climate change. There are religious zealots who welcome The End because they believe they are the Chosen Few so… bring it on. There are also embedded history lessons, which I applaud, about people like Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber who killed 168 people, 19 of them children. A home-grown terrorist, born and raised, lest we forget. The final discovery, which I will not spoil, at first seemed to strain plausibility but given current events, it just may turn out to be prophetic and entirely credible. It certainly served the plot well. There’s just enough realistic romance and physical danger to keep readers flapping the pages as well, as all good storytelling seems to do. There is a small amount of salty street language but it is not gratuitously applied. Only an untrained puritanical librarian would have a hissy fit. Never mind, I would advise, you can’t begin to buy publicity like a clumsy attempt at censorship will arouse!
Best of all, I, for one, want to know more about this world and these people so hope the author is hard at work on a Code Orange or Grey… or Aqua… Highly recommended for ages 14-18 and adults who enjoy a well-written and intriguing story set in a future that seems eerily familiar.