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Science Fiction Standalone | Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

As a young adult science fiction book AND a standalone, Plus One stands out for these and many other reasons.

Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

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plus one by elizabeth fama book review

Title & Author: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction- Dystopia

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Macmillan

How I Got the Book: ARC from Netgalley


“Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.”

Like Night and Day

A quick note: the cover confused the heck out of me. I thought this was going to be more of a space-epic science fiction book, and not in actuality a dystopia type of book. I will repeat – this book is NOT set in space despite the very space-y looking cover.

Now that that’s out of the way…I LOVED THIS BOOK! Plus One is absolutely amazing! One of my favorite reads so far this year!!

Right away I loved Sol, a crass-yet-determined Smudge who’s about to change her life with one huge mistake. Plus One is a very interesting type of dystopia because it’s more like an alternate history story than a true dystopia.

Sol lives in Chicago and in the world she lives in, the 1918 flu pandemic changes everything. It forced most of the world – especially the Unites States – to either work and live during the day (Rays) or at night (Smudges). So, if you’re a smudge, your active awake hours start at sundown.

The whole concept was extremely interesting and at different times played bigger and smaller roles. In some aspects, the day/night dilemma is political and at others just a device to motivate characters.

More than the setting, which was awesome, I loved the whole vibe of the book. It was gritty realism with a dash of hopeful idealism. Sol, a Smudge, has had a tough life. She struggles in school and her grandpa’s health is slowly declining.

There’s so much to appreciate and love about her character. She’s fully fleshed out and could walk off the page.

Sol is tough but not tough like other YA fantasy heroines. She’s tough in a I-have-to-be-tough-to-survive type of way instead of the classic I’m-tough-because-it’s-a-noble-and-just-way-to-be.

Then there’s D’Arcy. He’s French and his name sounds like a certain fictional, swoonworthy Austen character. Winning already, my French friend. I loved his and Sol’s dynamic together – the love to hate and realistically becomes…something else.

Plus, I am absolutely loving standalones lately. Maybe the stakes are higher, but the few I’ve read recently have been truly excellent.

Plus One will absolutely make you feel something. Sometimes that’s all I ask of a book. Make me feel the smallest thing for the characters, and something beautiful has happened.

And Fama definitely got me invested in the fates of Sol, her family and D’Arcy. There is so much raw and honest emotion that connected me to this story. It is very well crafted.


This is not a book you want to miss. It has a different flair and flavor than other dystopias because of its alternative history spin, and it’s romance and characters will make your heart race. Plus One is a standout of the year and definitely one of my top favorite reads so far this year.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.