March 25, 2013

Review of Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan



Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

add to goodreadsWasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan
Publication Date:  March 26, 2013
Publisher:  HarperTeen

Available for Purchase:
Chapter-Indigo | amazon | B&NTBD | indiebound

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn NewWhen I read the synopsis of Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, it sounded like it was right up my alley.  A Dystopian read with a Hunger Games type feel to it.

Basically, Wasteland revolves around a settlement called Prin.  There are no adults, and a slew of teens have made a life for themselves.  Assigned with a different tasked every two weeks, everyone is pulling their weight in order for the town to survive.

Unfortunately 15 year old Esther wants to nothing but play with her friend Skar.  But Skar is not like Esther.  Skar is a variant.  In other words, Skar and her people are considered mutants.  Mutants who are born hermaphrodicitc until the age of 15 where they chose the sex they want to be.  There has been a lot of activity coming from the variant camp.  Lots of destruction to the town of Prin by the hands of these variants.  No one can understand where all this hostility is coming from, and why they are dead set on destroying their town.

Fortunately, a stranger wanders into town named Caleb.  And Caleb single handedly thwarts the disgusting actions of a group of Variants, and the people of Prin see Caleb as a hero…as the one who will save them all.  But Caleb has his own agenda.  One that includes vengeance and a vendetta to settle.

With secrets coming to light and an evil plan that has been in the making many years ago, will Caleb be able to save those that he cares about, and will Esther finally grow up and do something that will change her life forever?

To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed in Wasteland, and there were multiple times during the read that I wanted to DNF it.  I felt like the writing was all over the place, and the jumping of point of views was getting to the point of confusion.  There isn’t really a warning that the POV is changing…it just does?  And then it’ll take my brain a little bit to catch up and see whose POV it is and what’s happening.

It was difficult to grasp that the characters in the book were kids.  All pretty much under the age of seventeen years of age.  And the dialogue and language used would be somewhat inconsistent.  There would be times where they sounded like uneducated kids…which is pretty much what they all are since many don’t know how to read… and then all of a sudden, they would speaking more intellectual.  And with Esther, it was so annoying to see how she would shirk her responsibilities to screw around.  Even knowing full well that she only had one strike left!  And then she’s surprise with how things turn out for her?  Gah!

But the storyline, once you get through the nitty gritty, was one that was addicting.  A story of revenge…which personally, are my favorite kind of stories.  There were a few characters in the story that were really interesting to follow, such as Caleb and Levi.  And the history that comes to light between these two was a great twist to the story.

And nearing the end, it was a straight through action packed ride where most everything is wrapped up in a nice neat bow.  I recommend this read to fans of reads involving vengeance and who are looking for a Dystopian read that may keep you on your toes.

About the Authors:



SUSAN KIM is a playwright, TV writer, and author. Her two graphic novels w/co-author Laurence Klavan, “City of Spies” (artwork by Pascal Dizin) and “Brain Camp” (artwork by Faith Erin Hicks), were published by First Second Books in 2010. “Flow: the Cultural Story of Menstruation” (co-written w/Elissa Stein) was published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2009. Plays include the stage adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (Dramatists Play Service) and various one-acts that were produced in the EST Marathon, including Death and the MaidenRapid Eye Movement,Dreamtime for Alice (Dramatists Play Service and Farrar Strauss), and Memento Mori (Smith and Krauss). Her work has been produced internationally. Ms. Kim has been nominated five times for the Emmy and four times for the Writers Guild award for her work in both non-fiction and children’s TV; she won a WGA award in 1996 for Best Documentary. She lives in New York City, teaches dramatic writing in the MFA program at Goddard College and currently blogs for the Huffington Post.

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I got two Drama Desk nominations for the book and lyrics to “Bed and Sofa,” the musical produced by the Vineyard Theater in New York. It also received two Obie Awards, five other Drama Desk nominations (including Best Musical), and an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Musical. It was published by Dramatists Play Service, recorded by Fynesworth Alley, and subsequently produced by the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where it won two Barrymore Awards, and other theaters. It made its London debut at the Finborough Theatre in 2011 and was nominated for five Offie (Off West End) Awards, including Best Production.

Also with composer Polly Pen, I co-wrote the musical, “Embarrassments.” It was developed at the O’Neill Music Theater Conference and produced by the Wilma Theater in 2003. It is published by Dramatists Play Service.


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  1. I don’t really mind switching the POV’s, but it is hard when you have to figure out which character is it. I’m still not real sure about this one. I might wait to see if I can get it from the library. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    I’d be curious to see what you think of it Jenea :)

  3. Ellen

    I was disappointed in this book to, especially after all the hype about it. It was a good story, but had the potential to be so much better. Great review.

  4. Chapter by Chapter

    Totally agree Ellen. It had sooo much potential. I was hoping for so much more… =(

  5. Your review definitely cleared up some things for me. I’ll be skipping this one. There are too many really good books out there and so little time. :)

  6. Chapter by Chapter

    This one probably won’t be for everyone. Thanks for stopping by Tressa!

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