Mari's Reviews > Flowertown

Flowertown by S.G. Redling
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it
bookshelves: favorite-reads-of-2012

Most of the books I read, I read because I've followed some trail of hype. Popular on Goodreads or all my friends have read it or best selling, etc, etc.

It's so nice, then, to just pick up a book because it sounded good and to discover what feels like a hidden gem.

Feno Chemical spills an experimental pesticide near a small town in Iowa. Those that survive the contamination are quarantined, guarded by the US Army and a private security force. They work, eat, sleep and are under constant medical supervision. Ellie Caulley's history in containment, all seven years of it, is complicated. She's lost a lover and gained one. She's angry but combats that by constantly smoking something. She's apathetic yet she still seems to have fight in her. And now, Flowertown as the quarantine area is dubbed, seems to be falling apart at the seams.

I really, really liked Ellie. Not in an "I can relate to her, I want to hang out with her on Saturdays" way. I just loved that she was a complicated hero, but that at the end of the day, she kicked ass. I loved that I was rooting for a character who almost never showered, who swore like a sailor and tended to miss what was in front of her. Regardless of what gave her the bite that followed her bark, Ellie is a fighter and there is nothing that I like better in a character.

The premise of this novel was fairly unique and well executed. I often found myself asking the "what if" questions. I found myself playing the, "just imagine" game. What if there was a chemical spill of this magnitude? What if a small population could infect the country or the world? Just imagine being stuck in this microcosm. Just imagine how you would react as you realized that life was slowly bleeding out its meaning. Would I be a 2? A 5? A 7? Docile and accepting? Normal? Angry? Any story that can stir up this sort of extended reaction is doing something right.

I did not see the big twist coming until just the right moment. I pieced it all together just a tick before Ellie gets the reveal, which is nicely done by the author. I got the satisfaction of the OH MY GOD, I FIGURED IT OUT. Plus, when the reveal came, it didn't feel like it came from left field. I saw all the pieces fall together.

The supporting cast is all wonderful as well, from Ellie's farm girl roommate to her intimidating boss. The newspaper selling ex-professor. The market owning old woman who never sleeps. The more I think about it, the more I realize how quirky and interesting they all were.

I have no complaints about the writing, but no big observations there either. I found some of the dialogue to be better than good and liked the rough and tumble feel of everyone in the town.

I found myself wondering at the end if this is meant to be a stand alone novel. I think it should be, or rather it could be, but in that case I was a little dissatisfied with the end. Either it was an amazing cliffhanger or I'm going to go wonder what happened to the villain and a few other balls left in the air while I eat ice cream now.

Specifically: (view spoiler)

This was a nice break from my typical book and I certainly don't regret reading it. One of the better things I've read in 2012.
18 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Flowertown.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

June 25, 2012 – Started Reading
June 25, 2012 – Shelved
June 28, 2012 –
75.0% "I love Ellie and her anger issues and stinky shirts."
June 28, 2012 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.