A small assortment of youngsters are alone in the desert with only ‘Teacher’ and ‘Nurse’ as guides and over-seers. Teacher instructs the children from old World Encyclopedia’s and tells them that ‘they are the world.’ The implication is clear that civilization as we know it has been destroyed.
But the students start to question Teacher and her methods when she has them work and practice mind-reading/ESP. The young girl, Eider, seems particularly curious and her curiosity only grows stronger when she meets a man hiking in the desert. At their own pace, each student begins to have questions, and the strange, doom-forecasting words heard over the static on the radio challenge what they think they know. Ultimately, Eider, Jay, Finch, and Avis will have to make some discoveries for themselves instead of relying on Teacher.
Author Kirsten Hubbard does a really nice job of capturing and conveying the dark, uncertain world in which the students live. We can’t help but wonder where we are and everything we believe about the world, just as the children believe, seems to be turned on its side. A big portion of this tone-setting is Hubbard’s beautiful way with words.
But once you step back from the flow of words and the tone of the book and look at the story itself, we flounder a bit. There’s not really much here and what there is offers more questions than answers.
I like books that have me question, but I like the answers to come along eventually to confirm what I was expecting or to change/surprise me. But this offers no such resolution. In many ways this book is reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, but I don’t expect Hubbard’s book will achieve the same fame or recognition and hence the unanswered questions become annoying rather than a classroom discussion point.
Looking for a good book? There’s much to like here with Kirsten Hubbard’s Race the Night but at the same time, it withholds just enough to not be satisfying.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Race the Night
author: Kirsten Hubbard
hardcover, 288 pages