Title: America Pacifica
Author: Anna North
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Darcy is an eighteen year old living in America Pacifica, all that is left after North America was enveloped by an ice age caused by climate change. When her mother doesn’t come home one evening, Darcy ventures out to look for her, and in the process uncovers some startling information both about her mother as well as the founding of America Pacifica itself.
The island society portrayed in America Pacifica is a bleak, unforgiving place. While the rich enjoy a lifestyle with such luxuries as fresh vegetables and real meat, the poor are forced to consume jellyfish, the only source of food found in abundance in the ocean. They work difficult, backbreaking jobs - Darcy was forced to drop out of school and work so her mother and she wouldn’t starve. It’s a miserable, hard life, and Anna North describes it in gritty detail. The world she has created is unique and full of interesting tidbits.
Darcy can be a very difficult character at times. It’s understandable because she’s led such a rough life, but she’s hard to like. She is rude and is perfectly willing to let others take the fall for her own actions. She uses people, but to caveat, she also allows herself to be used when it suits her - it’s a fact of the world she lives in. Darcy is incredibly resourceful and determined, but she doesn’t always make the smartest decisions.
North’s worldbuilding is both realistic and shocking in America Pacifica. She does a great job with the initial details, ensuring that the reader understands what life is really like. However, as the book progresses, loose ends crop up that hampered my enjoyment of the novel. I would have loved a little more explanation and revelation, as I had many questions, the answers to some of which were unclear at the end of the book.
The premise of America Pacifica is unique, and the mysteries behind both Darcy’s mother’s disappearance as well as the island community kept me hooked from beginning to end. At times, it was an uncomfortable read, but an honest one. Though there were aspects of the novel I didn’t love, North stays true to both the theme of the novel, as well as the unique setting she has created. If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, whether young adult or adult, this is a book that is worth reading.