Author: Lisa Ann O’Kane.
Published: June 3rd by Strange Chemistry.
Sort: Stand-alone, Dystopia.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she's fallen into another. Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question. Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic -- and he can prove it. Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.
The main character Autumn rubbed me the wrong way. She grew up in a cult where everyone has to think about his Essence. This is some sort of energy level and if it’s empty, you die. Her movement believes that you have to leave a neutral life to keep your level from draining quickly. When her brother dies and she’s not allowed to grief, Autumn gets stubborn and will be sent away to be re-educated. That was the plan, until she runs away with Ryder to his community, where people live on adrenaline and other emotions. His father is trying to prove that there is no such thing as losing Essence.
She goes with Ryder very easily. I can understand that she has her questions about Neutrality, but she grew up here and I don’t think anyone will throw away the life they know that easily.. I could overlook that part, but her personality is easily swayed by others. She uses alcohol and drugs like it’s nothing (and the book gives a wrong vibe with this) and she throws herself in dangerous situations. Not only that, she is so stupid it hurts.
Javi is another new member and from the moment he sees her, he fancies her. Okay, that is fine. Autumn is aware of his attraction to her, but is secretly admiring Ryder despite his bad reputations. I bet you can see where I am going here. When Ryder is talking to a girl, Autumn gets to jealous (because that is completely normal?) that she throws herself drunk on Javi. When Ryder finds the two of them she leaves Javi alone in the woods in order to be with Ryder. Such a classy girl.
That is not the worst part. It’s the incredibly insta-love and cheesiness. Ryder is a womanizer, but ‘she had his heart from the moment he laid eyes on her’ and ‘he doesn’t want anyone else but her’ Excuse me while I barf. He then continues to lie to her and she accepts it without too much problems. She on the other hand is naive and blind for what is going on. If I wasn’t so busy wishing them both dead, I would have felt sorry for them.
The whole Essence concept is a bit vague and never truly explored. We know that it is there, but not what it does and if it’s really playing a role in dying. I guess it only played a part to have two separate groups and a reason to make everyone behave like idiots. And what I really didn’t appreciate was how Ryder’s father uses him as his whore to complete his experiment. That is all I want to say about it, because I thought it was disgusting.
Nope. This story wasn’t for me and I still wonder how I was able to finish this book..