Thursday, March 13, 2014

REVIEW: "Waterproof" by Amber Garr (Mark My Words Book Publicity)

Dying of thirst is the new reality.

Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.

Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart. A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe? 

In this life, it pays to be waterproof. 

Disclaimer: Waterproof is a new adult dystopian with sex, violence, and language that may not be suitable for a younger audience.


Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of Waterproof, The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie. 


Older people I talk to tell me of being literally afraid of nuclear war, having a plan mapped out with their family if a bomb fell and they weren't killed instantly.  What if that future comes true?

I want this book to be made into a movie, and I want Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play Zach while I play Vee.

Water...every drop is precious.  Imagine living in a world where a bottle of pure water is more precious than a human life.  Nuclear war has ravaged the planet to the point where rain stings, animals have died off, plants have died off, and people fight a government that wants to round up all "deserters" to make them work in the factory.  But that work is not quite what it seems....

Garr is a masterful writer.  She here put together a work that is stark, gripping, exciting in a macabre way, and will make readers shudder at the plausibility of the world presented.  Stunning emotion, breath-taking action, heartbreaking scenes...this book is amazingly well done.  Let's just say it had me dwelling more than a little bit on a post-nuclear war plan...

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 4.


The Good
Heart thumping. Riveting.  Terrifying.  All these words and more describe Waterproof by Amber Garr.  Imagine you live in a world that has been decimated by nuclear war, famine, and people struggling against one another in a desperate struggle to survive.  Survive just one more day, so that you just might survive the next, and so on.

Zach and Vee were high schoolers until the nukes rained down.  Now they are deserters, people who have refused to acquiesce to the governmental draft to serve two years doing hard labor in the "factories".  No one knows for sure what happens in the factories.  All they know is that those who go in never come out.  They don't want to go in.

They are also not sure how they feel about one another, and don't figure this out until it is very nearly too late....or is it?

Waterproof is a book that broke my heart,  made me want to puke, made me pump my fist in exhilaration, and shudder....all in the same chapter.  Well-written settings that made me feel as though I was part of the action pulled me into the scenes.  A riveting fast-paced plot grabbed me by the seat of the pants until I did not want to quit reading.  Let's just say I stayed glued to this book for a bit and lost more than a little sleep because I had to know what was going to happen.

I'm not kidding about wanting this to be a screenplay: director = Joss Whedon.  Zach = Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Vivienne = me (what, I've done some screen acting!).  Yes it is a dystopian future in a media world where those are becoming more popular, but this one has a ring to it that is just plain terrifying: I could see it happening.

Okay, maybe not this exact scenario of course (somehow I feel like the science is a little off in the end), but something eerily similar.  It is easy to sit back and say that we'd never kill anyone, but what if we were in a post-nuclear existence where all water in rivers/oceans/rain was contaminated with nuclear fallout and the only pure water was that which was pure and bottled before the nukes fell?  Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't kill another for such a precious commodity?

It terrifies me to think just how plausible this freaky future may be.

Anyways, this book is haunting.  The characters are very real, have their own distinct voices (this is very important to me), and made me want to hug and slap them at the appropriate moments.  Something just isn't right about some of them, and it makes me want to read the next one.

Oh yeah, this clearly is not a stand-alone book.  It kind of cliffhangs.  *&!@#$

Also, it is told in a way that bounces back and forth between Zach and Vee's viewpoints.  Garr is really good at this - it is never confusing who is speaking.  I rather liked being able to crawl inside each of their heads and get a fairly good idea of what was going on at any given time by seeing it though two perspectives.  After Zach and Vee are separated (oh, c'mon...I'm not spoiling to much - you know they get separated if you watch the book trailer), we get to see what is happening on both sides of the story.  I love this!

This is kind of Hunger Games meets "Book of Eli" meets "Legion".  Dystopian.  Love.  Water.  Fight.

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
Okay, you might have noticed this section has been remarkably short in most of my recent reviews.  I'm not going soft, I swear - the books I've been reading lately just haven't given me much to complain about.  The same is true here.

There are two things that bugged me:

1)  I HATE cliff hanger endings.  I'll give that this one was done fairly well, but I was more than a little annoyed when my Kindle said "99% complete" and I KNEW the story wasn't anywhere close to finishing.

2) The wonky science here bothered me - if an entire land is plagued by radioactive fall out and such, wouldn't the people have radiation poisoning of some sort?  Also, I'm sure the animals mentioned would take MUCH longer to stop showing signs of radiation poisoning and still be unsafe to eat (if the species even survived in the first place).  The people here didn't seem to, and this did bother me.  A certain medical thing near the end bugged me a bit to, simply because I think it was made up....but so long as it remains consistent throughout the story I will let it go.  :P


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