California by Edan Lepucki

September 8, 2014 Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 27

Salutations, Bookworms!

I’ve been doing a little self-psychoanalysis and I think part of the reason that I like dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction so much is because it makes all my first world problems seem super petty. I mean, I might be worried about dieting or something, but that seems less critical when you read about people who are legit starving, you know? The latest venture into  post-apocalyptic fiction is California by Edan Lepucki. I saw a review of it over at The Gilmore Guide to Books and skedaddled to NetGalley to see if it was still available. Fortune smiled. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration. May I be abandoned in the post-apocalyptic California wilderness if I am untruthful in my review.*

california California takes place in (would you have guessed?) California. After a peak oil crisis and increasing civil unrest rip through Los Angeles, Cal and Frida pull up stakes and head out into the wilderness. They plan to live off the land by utilizing Cal’s farming skills and live a peaceful life. Peaceful, if not comfortable. Comfort comes at a premium these days.

The wealthy have all retreated into closed “Communities.”  They maintain reliable electricity, indoor plumbing, and your major creature comforts. People live and work inside these settlements to escape the lawless streets, patchy utility coverage, and food shortages. Those without the means are left to fend for themselves in the ruins of major cities, hence Cal and Frida’s decision to get out of Dodge. All was going well, or at least they weren’t on the verge of starvation, when Frida discovers that she’s pregnant.

A lack of prenatal care wasn’t a problem the pair had anticipated when they were planning their homestead, so they decide to set off and try to find the nearest settlement. What they find is a dark and guarded camp of settlers with a whole lot of secrets… And weird taste in art.

Y’all I really dug this book. It certainly fulfilled my post-apocalyptic fiction craving. There were a few things I would have liked explained a little more fully, but I rather liked the semi-ambiguous ending. Me liking an ambiguous ending? Who’d have thunk?! If post-apocalyptic fiction is your thing, I recommend you take a trip to California

Talk to me Bookworms. Does anybody else like dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction because it reminds you that your lot in life could always be worse? Just me? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will make a small commission.*

27 Responses to “California by Edan Lepucki”

  1. Sarah Says Read

    I do REALLY want to read this, but I got it from the library and I was already reading something and those three weeks flew by and suddenly it was due and I hadn’t even cracked it open. Le sigh.

  2. Jancee Wright

    I agree with Andi, I’m a little burned out on dystopian stuff. That being said, it’s always something I go back to eventually, so I did add this to my TBR. It sounds good, but I’m just not really in the mood for fight, flee, survive right now.

  3. Megan M.

    Dystopian isn’t really my thing. I only read Hunger Games because it was so popular. This one sounds like it would terrify me since I’m currently pregnant (although not for long now!) That was one of the worst parts of watching The Walking Dead for me… when Lori was pregnant/gave birth. Awful.

  4. AMB

    I don’t read a lot of dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction, but this sounds interesting. Sadly, some of it doesn’t sound all that different from how some people actually live in the US (including the lack of prenatal care, which thankfully, is more widely available now than it used to be a few years ago).

  5. Elizabeth

    I have been wondering if this book was good! I generally like dystopian lit because the “world building” the authors do tends to be creative and interesting. But sometimes the genre is just depressing.

    • Words For Worms

      This is really more post-apocalyptic than dystopian… Not a whole lot of world-building, and it’s kind of a downer. In the interest of full disclosure, LOL.

  6. Jennine G.

    Okay, what always gets me in these life or death books is when someone gets pregnant. People! You know how that happens…there’s a sure way to prevent it! If you are living in a dystopian society, don’t get pregnant! Lol, just a thing I always think.

    Besides that, this sounds like a good next dystopian read! Thanks!

    • Words For Worms

      LMAO! Indeed. Although, in this particular case they were sort of trying… And they really had no other way to entertain themselves, LOL. You’d have to read it for it to make any sort of sense. But yeah. I get that.

  7. Lost in Literature 108

    Great review.
    Reminds me that I still haven’t gotten to The Road…
    This one looks great too.

  8. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Like Andi I’m a leetle burned out on dystopian fiction — I’m at the point now where I’m avoiding it unless I get a really strong recommendation (such as I’ve been getting for California!). I’m still planning to read this! I do enjoy seeing the different ways authors imagine humanity coping with the collapse of civilization.

  9. Annabel Smith

    This book has rocketed to the top of my reading list. I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, not because it makes me feel better about my life, but because it makes me think about actions we’re taking now that might lead to these kind of futures.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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