I took part in the campaign back in 2018 for Christina Dalcher previous book Vox, so when I received a message from Katrina Smedley from HQ Stories asking if I’d be interesting in reading the new book I jumped at the chance.
Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.
Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.
Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.
But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…
Similar in structure to Vox, Dalcher has managed yet again to write a dystopian novel, with an all too believable starting point.
As a means to address school overcrowding, teacher shortages and a way to teach all children at their own pace, children are being assessed and divided up into attending 3 different ‘levels’ of schooling. Not altogether unheard of but this is a Dalcher novel, and here America has taken this idea to it’s very extremes.
Monthly testing of all children and adults of working age leads to each person being assigned their Q score. These scores are not just intelligence tests but also take into account where you live and who you live with, your job, mental health, sexual orientation and even your attendance levels at school and work. Over the last 10 years it’s prompted segregation to the point where if you hold a silver card, ‘top marks’ you even join a quicker queue at the supermarket.
Our protagonist, Elena has started recently to question if things have gone too far, and as in Vox, the main character of the book soon finds herself in the true centre of what government are really up to.
I whizzed through this book, reading it in a matter of hours. Fast paced and ever moving, it uses startlingly believable accounts both from the past and present to make this an alarming read.
I enjoyed the characters, loathed the husband!! (horrible man), and liked the way the author looked at them from all sides, not afraid for the main character to admit to following along with things just like everyone else. I thought it was also interesting to touch on the issue, through Elena’s own school days, of the clever ones, the loaners, the geeks thinking of ways of taking over school from the athletic, good looking, group leaders who everyone wants to be friends with.
I enjoyed this book. Found it a quick and engrossing story and if you liked Vox your sure to like this new one too. Thank you to Katrina Smedley and the publishers HQ for my proof copy.
Q IS PUBLISHED NEXT WEEK, APRIL 30TH 2020.