“The Salt Line” by Holly Goddard Jones

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ALL THE STARS! One of my favorite new releases of 2017! How to describe this book? Well, first of all, it’s got burrowing ticks in it! But, this is not a horror story. Yes, there are a few gross parts, but overall, it’s a post-apocalyptic setting in the future, where diseases carried by “miner ticks” have turned society into “zones.” Inside the zones, you’re pretty safe, but more restricted, and the government kind of lies about a few things.

Outside the zones, well, you aren’t really supposed to know anything exists out there. It’s DANGEROUS. Stay where it’s safe!

Inevitably, “excursion” groups pop up for filthy rich elites, where they suit up, and go “camping” for a few weeks and get to see how people used to live… old houses, grocery stores, star-gazing, gasoline-fueled, cars, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is NOT a horror story. You do see some tick action, but it’s not the main focus. It’s about the people who go on this excursion and what happens to them and discovering things out there aren’t what they have been told.

I LOVED the various stories of the people focused on. You have Edie, who is this 20-something who happened to end up with a filthy rich pop star of the month guy. She’s the bartender/waitress who got the celebrity and wonders how she got there. Edie is awesome!

You have Marta, the wife of a mafia type guy, who has turned a blind eye for decades… for her sons. I won’t go into how she ends up on the “tour,” but this lady… ALL THE FEELS. There is some major girl power going on in this book. Strong female characters.

You have Violet, a horribly facially-scarred 30-something who ends up being so much more than she starts out being. I won’t go into her story either because spoilers!

Wes is the billionaire wonder-kid (well, he is in his 20s in this) who came up with some brilliant program like Facebook, only it’s called Pocketz. He is a vegan, has a bit of OCD, is very controlled yet inexperienced in a way, and his story surprises you.

There are a few more supporting characters, but those are the ones who stood out the most to me and we flash back and forth between their POVs. This has a few WTF and weird didn’t-see-that-coming moments.

I also really enjoyed the underlying various messages on motherhood. Each female has a totally different view on it and it seems to flow poignantly in the background throughout the book.

To me (this is just my view, don’t quote me on this), it has vibes of The Last One and The Book of the Unnamed Midwife. I think this has enough sci-fi and suspense to appeal to those who like that in books and yet it also has enough aspects of “regular” fiction to appeal to those who don’t like as much fantasy.

I highly recommend and just devoured this pretty much in one day. I just loved the characterization, the plot, and yes, the dystopian and fantasy moments.

Digital copy provided by Netgalley and publisher to read and review. Released on September 5, 2017.

Review on Goodreads.

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