Rosa lives in a world that is strictly governed in order to create All Kind, the idea that everyone is the same and nobody is a different race. Due to a genetic abnormality, Rosa has one blue eye and one brown eye, making her stand out from the crowd on top of her trouble making streak. Just before being forced to leave her home, Rosa meets Joseph, and the pair seem to hit it off, but once in the Classes they are given separate assignments, and they know that they have no future together. Despite discovering her calling in woodwork, Rosa manages to get caught, and though she is unconscious for a while, she wakes up in a strange facility. And she wakes up pregnant.
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Well I wasn't quite expecting that! I set out expecting a normal style dystopian setting (I love them so can't get enough!) and I got that. What I didn't really expect was the story! Think something across between Divergent and The Handmaid's Tale and you're kind of there, but you're not really. This is nothing like I've ever read before.
Rosa could be a little infuriating at times, though I think that that actually added to her character development, particularly in relations to her feelings about Joseph, Carla and the Leech. There really was no clear cut answer, she was conflicted and her feelings changed. In other words she grew. The Rosa at the end of The Woodlands is certainly a far cry from the Rosa at the beginning, she matured and became an adult ultimately.
There was a lot of focus on her feelings towards her baby (or Leech as she calls it). Other than shock (which most people would probably feel after they woke up a few months pregnant), she goes through a range of emotions, including pretending it wasn't happening. I thought that it was an interesting look at how someone would feel about an unwanted pregnancy, especially in such trying circumstances.
I loved every minute of reading this! And am very much looking forward to getting stuck into the next one!
This review is a part of the Blog Tour that trips down imagination road is doing on behalf of Clean Teen Publishing (and a big thanks to them for it!) Check out the other books offered by Clean Teen Publishing on their website, and don't forget to check out the other reviews I am doing for them this week!
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Guest Post by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Author of The Woodland Series
THE BECHDEL TEST: (The what?)
In a recent review of The Woodlands a reviewer congratulated me for passing the Bechdel test. I was like the blech what? But then I looked it up and smiled proudly when I realised what I had done by including a strong female friendship in my book.
The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Sadly, many contemporary works of fiction fail this test, which was disappointing and very surprising to learn. It seemed important and realistic to include a growing, sister-like friendship between two of my female characters. And though, as girls, we are prone to talk about men sometimes, it certainly not all we talk about.
If we are fortunate, we have a collection of women whom we trust and confide in, whose relationships we have built over time. This is a fundamental part of womens’ strength. I’m lucky enough to have one, they’re the women you can talk to about anything, without judgment and usually have a good giggle in the process.
The bond between Rosa and Clara in The Woodlands is reflective of that and I hope when people read it they can see the value of sisterhood and the importance of not pinning everything on one character, no matter how swoon-worthy he may be. I really wanted to create a character who learns that she is not an island, that she needs people, in different ways and that sometimes, a family can be something you make for yourself.
The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.
THE WALL by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Book 2 in The Woodlands Series
She says it over and over. It’s her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesn’t stop while he’s sleeping. Rosa’s been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. She’s also sure they didn’t rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts.
The Survivors must want something from them… but what?
The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards.
She’s left so many people behind and isn’t sure how to start over.
There’s freedom in the Survivors’ world, more than she’d ever dreamed of, but there’s also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family she’s built on the outside.
Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?
COMING FEBRUARY 2014: The Wounded
(Book 3 in The Woodlands Series)
About Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.