**SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT** **SPOILER ALERT**
It is hard to imagine life within and/or after a 2nd Civil War in this country. The line “brother against brother” has appeared in everything I’ve ever read in reference to the 1st Civil War. To imagine that this could be true again is soul-crushing. I find this story very interesting (and a little bit scary) because it is a present day cause and effect. In this story characters go from surfing the internet to working the fields and buying through a barter system. Casey generates a world that is thought-provoking in its scope and probably a shock to the system anyone who is ‘connected’.
I know the stages of grief having gone through them when my baby brother died. I do not know what the stages of grief would feel like when mourning someone with whom you are in love. Through Shelby and Andrew, I have a better idea than I had. Casey draws their sorrow in such a raw and graphic way, I feel what they feel. When Shelby comes undone with grief, I cried many tears. A good writer makes me feel what the characters feel. That is what makes the characters ‘real’.
Jameson’s arrival elicits mixed feelings for me. I know Andrew is going to disappear from Shelby, and she will be forced to move forward through the stages of grief. I have enjoyed her ‘crazy’ relationship with Andrew. Now I must learn to like Jameson. I must accept that Shelby not only loves again, but falls into a ‘crazy love’ with Andrew’s brother, Jameson. By this time, I really like Jameson and can accept their right to love one another. Casey creates the perfect progression of events to make this relationship believable (and acceptable).
This is as much of a happy ending as possible. Those like Shelby, Joey, Jameson, and finally Becky and Chris are capable of being stronger than they ever thought they could. They are able to ride out the war and the rebuilding. They are able to love and bring life. They make it through the stages of grief and love.
I am usually not a fan of stories that use flashbacks so liberally, but in this case I really didn’t mind. This book is very enjoyable and well written.