One week before the Global Mandatory Hibernation and Flea Wheeler will do anything to avoid a long winter underground. A claustrophobic climate refugee who has been living rough on the flooded streets of Manchester, Flea dreads the day she’ll be forced into shelter so a geoengineering experiment can attempt to reverse the chaotic effects of global warming. Armed with nothing but her stolen umbrella, Flea is on a mission to stay on the surface and somehow survive the extreme weather.
It turns out she’s not the only one. While on the run from the curfew police, Flea falls in with loudmouth vlogger Dylan Moon who believes aliens are controlling the storms and planning a planetary takeover. At first, Flea takes Dil for a conspiracy nut. But after witnessing a series of inexplicable weather events, she realizes there may be some truth to his crazy theories. Is there a dark secret behind the looming climate experiment? Flea has one week left to evade the hibernation order and decide what she truly believes.
"There are three main ways an umbrella can save your life" (Cowley, 1).
Shrinking Sinking Land is a YA dystopian climate fiction novel revolving around the earth we live in and what could happen if we don't take care of our earth - and aliens, of course.
The novel starts off following Flea, a young girl trying to get her mother out of a sinkhole caused by the extreme weather. We are quickly introduced to the scouse accent and Liverpool dialect that she shares with her mother, demonstrating an odd relationship between the two.
The first thing I noticed is that there is a lot of English slang presented right off the bat in this novel. I found the conversation hard to follow as I'm not English (UK) and it definitely distracted from the story and made it hard to continue. However, once you get through the beginning with Flea and her mother, the dialogue starts getting more understandable, and you can focus more on the plot.
The plot was well written and kept my interest throughout the read. I liked that we got to see two point of views throughout, getting a feel for the different types of people trying to survive the climate and counting down to the Global Mandatory Hibernation (see blurb). I also really liked that at the beginning of some chapters, we get a description of certain terms used throughout the novel referring to the climate fiction aspect of the story.
I liked the variety of characters we got to see all experiencing the same event. Flea, Dylan Moon, Nessa, and Bunker Brat were all really interesting to learn about and they worked really well with each other. The chemistry which Cowley created makes the plot even better.
The message I took away from this novel is that not everything is as it seems. The story really takes you into a certain direction until it doesn't. All of a sudden, you're questioning everything that you've read, because the author has a way of making you believe one character over another.
It think the only thing I would ask for more of is descriptions of non traditional sayings, or certain words. We do get that throughout the book, which I really liked, but I felt that there was a need of a few more to clear up dialogue.
Cowley knows how to manipulate a reader, which I think is the whole reason why I kept reading. I just wanted to know more, and of course, we are now awaiting a second book to the series. I look forward to reading and seeing where this adventure takes Flea and Dylan Moon. I have to give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Chester author Kell Cowley wrote and illustrated her first novel age eight, telling the story of a runaway radish escaping from a salad bowl to explore the far reaches of the garden. She has been perplexing her friends and family with her weird stories ever since. She holds a BA in Performance Writing from the wildly experimental Dartington College of Arts, won a novelist’s apprenticeship with the Adventures in Fiction development scheme and is the co-founder of 'Odd Voice Out' press. When she occasionally closes her laptop or latest reading obsession to spend time in the real world, she will likely be found shambolically running a school library, attempting to act in local plays or eco-warrioring her way towards the apocalypse.