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A Reader of Fictions: Before the Lobotomy - Green Day

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Before the Lobotomy - Green Day


Author: C. K. Kelly Martin
Pages: 352
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 25, 2012
Source: Random House via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
THEN: The formation of the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas’s life. Until that world starts to crumble.

NOW: It’s 1985. Freya Kallas has just moved across the world and into a new life. On the outside, she fits in at her new high school, but Freya feels nothing but removed. Her mother blames it on the grief over her father’s death, but how does that explain the headaches and why do her memories feel so foggy?

When Freya lays eyes on Garren Lowe, she can’t get him out of her head. She’s sure that she knows him, despite his insistence that they’ve never met. As Freya follows her instincts and pushes towards hidden truths, the two of them unveil a strange and dangerous world where their days may be numbered.

Unsure who to trust, Freya and Garren go on the run from powerful forces determined to tear them apart and keep them from discovering the truth about their shared pasts (and futures), her visions, and the time and place they really came from.

First Sentence: "When I've wailed for so long and so hard that my throat is in shreds and my fingernails ripped and fingertips bloody from clawing at the door, I collapse in front of it curled up like a dead cat I saw on an otherwise spotless sidewalk as a child once."

My second C. K. Kelly Martin book has me convinced that I need to write every single thing she writes. Martin has a very distinct style. Her writing is wonderful and her concepts, at least for the two books I've already read, are entirely original. Yesterday didn't remind me of any other dystopia, a very rare experience.

Yesterday is one of those stories where you'll spend most of the book confused, unsure what the heck is going on. However, rest easy with the knowledge that you WILL be given answers; Martin will explain everything. Her vision of the future is dark and complex, taking into account various ways that humans could destroy the world. Not only that, but, of course, the meddlesome government will take charge in a harsh way to try to control everything.

I really cannot say much of anything else about the world building aspect of Yesterday, because spoilers would be unavoidable. The only other things I need to point out in this regard are the reasons I rated it down a little bit. First, there was the clunky info dump when Freya realized what was going on. I'm not sure if there was a better way to do that, but that chapter read like a history text. I also felt like her memories came back too quickly and easily. Second, the time travel aspects were questionable, but, then again, I almost always have big suspension of disbelief issues with time travel.

Yesterday made a really nice change from most of my other reads, because of the unique setting. For one thing, the book is set in Canada, taking place largely in Toronto. Very few books I've read have had a Canadian setting, though I'm a bit surprised by that. Even more uncommon, Yesterday is set primarily in the 1980s. I loved all the mentions of music, like The Smiths, and other bits of pop culture from that time period. Also, picturing everyone in the horrific clothes greatly amused me.

Freya won my affections early on. She's gorgeous, in a way that could have made her completely obnoxious; literally, everyone stares at her. However, she is completely uncomfortable with that. She doesn't try to be popular; instead she befriends the goths, and even does a makeover on herself so people will pay less attention to her. I loved that, despite her beauty, she doesn't take advantage of it nor does she deny it.

Freya has premonitions, visions of the near future. These really could have felt out of place, and I am curious about them, but Martin made them work. They did not come off as an unnecessary paranormal addition to the plot, thank goodness. I love Freya for her intelligence, her forthrightness, her courage and her anger. She feels so real. It also entertained me that in this case, it wasn't a heroine falling for a vaguely creepy, gorgeous guy who stalked her; she does the stalking, although she does have her reasons.

Garren definitely was less dear to me, but I liked him because Freya did. I still question him a bit, because he had a girlfriend at the beginning. The switch of his feelings from Janette to Freya seemed rushed and unnatural. However, I can accept it, since, though they get close to one another VERY quickly, they don't instalove all over the place. In such a stressful situation, emotions developing is not a surprise, but I would have punched everything if they were declaring eternal love for one another. Thankfully, they did not. As an added bonus, Martin is a genius at writing steamy scenes, as evidenced here and in My Beating Teenage Heart.

Reading Yesterday was a pleasure from beginning to end, a refreshingly original addition to dystopian fiction. Now I need to go add her other books to my wishlist...

Favorite Quote: "'I can't stop saying it, Garren. It's the truth. I'm not going to pretend for you. The past doesn't disappear just because you don't want to hear it.'"

"Dreaming, I was only dreaming
Of another place and time
Where my family's from

Remember: Every comment on a post during Dystopian August is an entry to win one of fourteen dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels IF you've filled out the form from this post.

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Blogger Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind said...

How's getting a makeover as a goth NOT denying that she's beautiful? Not saying goths aren't beautiful but it's a different type then what the majority of people would call beautiful.

You like Garren because Freya likes him (:
That's saying something of what type of character she has. Also, I love her name.

August 12, 2012 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I don't know why I still manage to be fooled by your titles. I was totally like OOOO! THERE'S A BOOK CALLED "BEFORE THE LOBOTOMY??" *o*...then I'm like "Oh, it's just this scary, gloomy looking book called Yesterday..."

AND I HAVEN'T HEARD OF THIS BOOK! HOW IS IT POSSIBLE? O_O How could a book possibly have escaped my attention?

"Yesterday didn't remind me of any other dystopia, a very rare experience."
Now that's something I have to check out. Originality is always a plus.

"I loved that, despite her beauty, she doesn't take advantage of it nor does she deny it."
What a waste. If I was "that" beautiful, I would be strutting out with high heels, and take advantage of modeling/acting contracts until I earn enough to buy a dolphin.
I don't know how befriending goths will help her in her lets-avoid-all-attention plan, goths are not exactly the most...plain people. And I hope she's picking her friends specifically because they are "goths."

Oh, I didn't know she wrote My Beating Teenage Heart, I saw that one in the library and thought the cover looked so gloommmmyyy, like a rain cloud.

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

August 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Fantastic review! I'll be adding Yesterday to my wishlist. First of all, 80s. Love 80s! Secondly it's in Canada - so refreshing! I would have missed out on this book if you didn't review it, Christina :)

August 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Bekka said...

I read My Beating Teenage Heart earlier this year, and while the story wasn't all that great for me I really did love the writing. I had no idea she (she?) wrote a dystopia! That's awesome. *rushes to library*

August 12, 2012 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

She gets the makeover because she knows she's attracting too much attention as a blonde. She's aware of her beauty, but she's not interested in it. Grieving for her father, she just wants to be left alone.

August 13, 2012 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Wah wah! My titles confuse everyone. I am considering changing my system, perhaps when I get a blog makeover, which will happen...someday. No idea when. I have a designer friend who can make it look awesome, but he's so busy, so I'm waiting. I don't want to pay when I can not pay. I like my system but it confuses errybody.

Woo! So true.

Well, she's trying to recover from her father's death and she's feeling really disconnected from life. The goths were also the first ones to ask her to sit with them for lunch. At first they had nothing in common, but they developed bonds. It was pretty sweet. After she died her hair, she felt like her inside reflected the way she was feeling inside, which is kind of the point, I think?

The book is gloooommmmmyyyy.

August 13, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Aww! Yay! So glad I found you a book about Canada in the 80s. Errr, not so much ABOUT Canada, but set in Canada.

August 13, 2012 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, My Beating Teenage Heart was like a 3.5 for me. There was a lot of awesome stuff in it, but I didn't find the characters as accessible. I liked this one much better!

August 13, 2012 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I think you need to bribe that designer friend so s/he will remember. Doughnuts and cookies do wonders.
With your system, how do you know what post title corresponds to what book?!? Thank God you have a reviews directory. But really, it gets me excited for a book..that isn't even a book.BUT, whatever floats your boat. This is your blog, do whatever you want. Except throw a gazillion of those multicolored buttons/banners on the sidebars. That stuff is ugly.

OOOO, goths are nice people!


August 13, 2012 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

He's just starting a crazy diet. Sigh. I think I just need to wait. He did make me the cute zombicorns!

That's WHY I have a reviews directory. Otherwise, it would be impossible. Sometimes I do remember exactly which song goes with which book, but if the title didn't fit perfectly it's tougher.


I think this one's actually much happier than that one. Even though this is a dystopia. O_O

August 13, 2012 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

*stares* WHAT? HE MADE YOU THOSE ZOMBIECORNS? Because after seeing you mention them I went to do a google image search (and these things are even more popular than I imagined) and I saw that same zombiecorn on the first page. Then I wondered why you didn't choose a cuter zombiecorn instead of one THAT LOOKS LIKE A PINATA.

I wonder if you are a music enthusiast, or if you play that song while you read. And what if you can't really find a song? Or do you just twist it to fit?



August 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

If I can't find a song, I spend hours digging through my music library and internet lyrics searches. The good times are when I have one in mind from early on or one plays as I'm reading that fits perfectly. Sometimes I have an artist in mind, which helps.

When I'm hard up for music, I try to think about the atmosphere and sort through the artists that fit that. For example, if a book was super cheesy, I head to the Glee covers. If it had misogyny like whoa, then I might look to oldies (sad but true).


August 13, 2012 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I won't be able to do it considering a bulk of my music library is instrumental..or Asian music. And half the time I have no idea what they are singing about.

*stares* misogyny in oldies? O_O

FINE! I WILL TELL A JOKE! Life is like a box of chocolates, doesn't last very long for fat people.

August 13, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

LOLOLOLOL That's a terrible joke.

August 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I have more up my sleeves!
What bounces and makes children cry?
My check to the Make a Wish children's charity.

August 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahaha, where do you get this stuff?

August 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I would love to say my super intelligent brain. But mostly from other people (those strangers I always chat with on Omegle) and 9GAG.

What's the difference between a black guy and a pizza?
A pizza can feed a family of four.

August 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

What is 9GAG?

That one took me a moment. At first I thought it was a cannibalism joke, probably because I'm reading Ashen Winter and there is much cannibalism. Then it made me sad.

August 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

It's a website that teaches people how to be funny. Nah, it's just a site that collects all the funny stuff in the world wide web onto one easy to navigate, well-designed website.


August 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

It is. I don't question that. There's not much food around. *shrugs* It's really not the most horrifying book I've ever read. Good, though, except that I want to throttle the MC sometimes.

August 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Wishlisted this one just based on your review! I love 1980s books, reminds me of my childhood, and dystopian to boot!

August 13, 2012 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup! I think you will enjoy! :D

August 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger aLilLacey said...

That's awesome that it's set in the 1980's.rather than sticking to the current era. I love creativity in writing. Thanks for the review and i love the cover of this book. Very eye catching.

August 13, 2012 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup! I thought this was incredibly original. Love the cover too!

August 14, 2012 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

The most horrifying books are always the one that I don't think will be horrifying then end up scaring the heck outta me. Maybe it has something to do with me being prepared when I open a horror novel. One of the scariest moments I remember was in Hilary Duff's Elixir. My heart skipped a beat when the girls "soulmate" appeared in her closet. And then I was unnerved in the middle of Mockingjay with that song about the hanged man.
And I remember reading this illustrated collection of spooky tales as a kid at the library. Wasn't scary...until I got to this one story about this girl who always wore a ribbon on her neck. And her head fell off in the end.
Maybe if it wasn't illustrated I wouldn't be that horrified of it. I purpose hid that book in theback of the library shelves after that.

I am a wimp.

August 18, 2012 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Lenore Appelhans said...

This was one of my favorite reads in a long time! LOVE!

August 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I really liked it. Not quite a favorite, because I'm a bit ish with time travel, but it was a great read. Also, her romance scenes always make me swoon.

August 20, 2012 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

I think I may have to push this one up on my list. Mister has been wanting to take me book shopping (poor fool), so I may have to make a special trip at the end of September. :-D

August 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ooooh, book shopping. Sounds like a nice Mister. :-p He better prepare his credit card for some abuse.

August 21, 2012 at 8:04 AM  

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