CREWEL By Gennifer Albin
While a YA (young adult) novel, many adults will find this dystopian novel interesting, especially if they have an interest or talent with needle arts. In this idyllic new world, woven from substances gathered from the old Earth, everyone’s future is clearly mapped out and no one rebels or is unhappy – or are they? As the book unfolds we learn disturbing facts about this world and the spinsters and crewelers who keep it intact. Adelice, chosen as a spinster, is increasingly aware of terror, rebels and disasters hidden from most inhabitants, including other spinsters.
Although occasionally lacking sufficient detail in the how this world works, the concept is new and interesting. The main characters are generally well formed and consistent even though it is clear who are the bad guys and who are the good guys – at least in this first book of a proposed trilogy. The characters are likeable and their lives have enough back story to generate plot enough for the future books.
I would recommend this book to older teens and adults. Book groups will find many topics for discussion including predetermined futures, forced family planning, rigid control by “authority” through fear, loss of free will, segregation of the sexes, ecological use of nature materials including animals and women’s place in society among others.