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A Screen worthy Novel: A Review of Heather Sunseri’s “Emerge” Description: “From the author of the Mindspeak series comes the first in a brand new dystopian romance series. Six years ago, a highly contagious virus wiped out more than ninety-nine percent of the country’s population. The only person to contract the virus and survive, Cricket fled her identity and the safety of New Caelum, an airtight city. Now eighteen, she watches the city where the wealthy cocooned from the devastating outbreak. When the city’s rumbling incinerator wakes her one night while she and her friends are camping just beyond the city walls, she alone knows what the fiery machine means: the lethal virus is back. Only eighteen, Westlin Layne is already being groomed to succeed his mother as New Caelum’s next president. Suddenly West’s sister develops symptoms of the deadly virus thought to be eradicated years ago. Placed under quarantine, the president confesses to West a long-held secret: Christina Black, West’s childhood friend and first love, survived the virus, and her body alone holds the precious antibodies to save his sister. Now West must leave the city to find Christina. But Cricket has no intention of being found.”

My Thoughts:

Hands down–this book was absolutely good! I read it in two days.

Heather Sunseri’s Emerge is a screen worthy narrative focused on life after a devastating worldwide pandemic. This intriguing plot embraces society’s current concerns about Ebola, measles and the spread of other illnesses. 

Along with a dynamic plot, Sunseri gives us strong, vivid, likable characters. Cricket is so well-developed it is easy to forget she’s only eighteen. West is the disillusioned love interest–think of him as the male equivalent of Alice in Wonderland. He slid down the rabbit hole and someone turned the light on for him. It was interesting to see how he developed and changed by the end of the book. Dax and Dylan prove that identical twins do not necessarily have identical personalities. Dax is the hot button side of a love triangle–he reacts before thinking. But, you get the feeling that thinking isn’t too high on his list of priorities. Dylan is the calmer side of the pair. But, we don’t get a good look at his personality in this book (maybe he’ll show up in Book Two). Hats off to Sunseri for creating a great antagonist–Vice President Justin! At no point will you like this man.

Description is handled expertly by Sunseri. New Caelum is a fictional city in a bubble located in close proximity to Biltmore Estates! (Thank you for a great frame of reference.) I pictured the city as a large Habitrail for people–air tight with no real escape route. The details of the settlement outside of New Caelum were superb–think fortified suburb meets Puritan village.

Yes, Sunseri’s book is dystopian. And, yes, it’s a romance. But, it doesn’t read like a stereotypical, formulaic piece of dribble. Instead, it is well-written and thought provoking. What measures would any government take to protect its citizens from a worldwide pandemic? Would only the wealthy do well? Or, would everyone get a fair shot?

I enjoyed Emerge and can’t wait for Book Two.

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