The Rebel Christian

Book Reviews

Figuring Hope

By Joanna Johnson

By Joanna Johnson

The first thing I’d like to comment on with this book is the cover. I think it’s definitely intriguing and works well to draw in readers. Its odd design certainly matches the contents of the pages and, in a weird way, it reminds me very much of the protagonist.

Figuring Hope is most definitely a sci-fi adventure but I think it’s also safe to call it contemporary sci-fi. There is so much growth and depth with the cast of characters and that surprised me the most. Loo is twenty years old in this novel but she progresses very well, almost like she’s still a young kid aging with every page turned.

I’m not ashamed to say that I loved Loo. She wasn’t your usual ‘strong female lead’ she was well developed and definitely managed to hold her own in the events that played out but I liked her because she came off as somewhat masculine. To be honest, I liked the blurb of the book when Johnson first queried me for a review. It drew me in and I couldn’t wait to read it, but, for some reason, I misread the blurb and thought Loo was a male for the first ten to twenty pages of the book. Honestly, believing Loo was a guy, I think I enjoyed those pages much more than the rest of the novel!

That misunderstanding may have shifted my perception of the protagonist somewhat but I do believe Loo is someone very unique. She comes off as masculine in such a way that she seems to fit the mold for many different people. There’s always a ‘strong female lead’ or a ‘shy male protagonist’ but Loo falls between that. I think she’s ambiguous and, because of that, she feels more relatable.

Aside from the awesome cast, I have to complement the pacing of the story. There’s a very well developed romance that gives just enough juice to fill the gaps between the action, drama, and world-building Johnson gets into. I think this is a great read for all audiences, my only complaint would be the narration. First-person present tense is my favorite style of narration but it can get tricky. Johnson did an awesome job with her writing but I noticed A LOT of her sentences begin with ‘I’ which made the book feel more like a list at times. Other than that, I’d say this book should be everyone’s list for the summer. It’s definitely a thrill.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*