I received a free ARC of this book from The Story Plant in exchange for my honest review.
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book when I first saw it. The cover is very dramatic, all swooping colors and ALL CAPS TITLES, and an indication that this was a contest winning book, and this was the author’s first novel. I’m always nervous about first novels. I’ve read some that are amazing, and others that I’m just not quite sure about.
And as I told a friend of mine just a moment ago, this is the first book in a while now that I’ve read…and haven’t wanted to stop to do anything else.
The book follows Laura Baily, a young woman who feels utterly lost in the world. Where everyone has a community to be in (her parents are artists, and the rest of the population is divided accordingly, not dissimilar from the concepts in Hunger Games or Divergent) she feels useless. She has no ambition, no drive, no passion. So she obtains a ticket for the train–a one-way trip associated with death. No one ever returns.
What she finds over there isn’t death, but Terminal B: a world filled with people much like her, who have lost their way and feel they don’t have a purpose–including an old schoolmate of Laura’s, Will Noble. And Laura starts to realize that maybe her life is pointless, but the others around her are fascinating…and the more the looks, the more she starts to see the holes in the system. When the lives of the people she’s grown to like start being threatened, Laura finds the mission she’s always lacked…and can only hope that one resigned outsider can change the world.
Wow. Just…wow. I sympathize with Laura in some aspects; while I do feel I know my calling in life, I struggle with depression and wondering if any of this really matters or if the world would be better off if I just took the train away, as it were. She struggles with the apathy she wants but doesn’t seem to be allowed to keep, with her new “assigned mission” in life, and whether or not any of this really matters.
Will Noble is the perfect foil to Laura. He’s cheerful and optimistic where Laura is cynical and pessimistic. He pushes her to keep trying, even when she doesn’t want to–and as time goes on, simply being him and being there begins to inspire her. I don’t want to delve to deeply into what we see with them, because I think it’s better to experience it, but it’s an amazing journey and one that particularly resonated with me. I can only dream of meeting my own Will Noble some day.
The others in Terminal B who we meet, even the ones with very little page time, are all very real character, not dropped off with a name and a line and then never spoken of again. Mimi, Grant, Seth…they all have their pieces to play. And if the cast of characters–named characters–is rather small because of it, I’m okay with that. Laura does enough to even it all out, and there’s just enough to make it seem reasonable. (Making Laura fairly anti-social helps this as well.)
Last night, I decided to read just a few chapters–and realized that I’d suddenly read twice as many. Once I got into the final descent into the conclusion this afternoon, I quite honestly couldn’t put the book down. You always have an idea of where the book might end, but there’s just enough to be skeptical of that you need to see it through all the way. Absolutely brilliant. Knowing that this is Hill’s first novel makes it all the more spectacular. I hope to see many, many more books from her, and wish her all the best with whatever her next project is. Thank you for this gem. These characters will stick with me for a while.
Rating: ***** (Highest Recommendation)
TERMINAL REGRESSION hits shelves on January 17th, 2017.