Every few years, a doomsday scenario or prophecy comes along touting the end of the world as we know it. Religious leaders gather their devoted to far away compounds while pseudoscience types scare the world with their convictions that this thing or that points to the apocalypse. So far, they’ve all been wrong. Dates have come and gone. Nothing happens. Ever. Yet the devoted continue their devotion.
Of course, who’s to say that next time it won’t be true? Right? Can you ever be sure that one scenario or another is actually wrong? What if next time, the end of the world is predicted not by us but someone from the future, from a different dimension? What if the only way to save ourselves was to walk through a portal to an alien world that supposedly is much like our own. Or, so “they” say, they peeps on the other side. Consider by Kristy Acevedo, another Twitter Writing Challenge peer of mine, explores exactly that scenario.
Consider follows Alexandra, a teenager that’s a little different than most. She easily becomes anxious about the smallest things and has to suppress her anxiety with medication just to function. When her train home one evening suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere and a strange portal appears out of thin air not far from them, her life is about to switch into overdrive in ways she can’t possibly predict, even in her own anxiety-filled mind. Before long, reports start trickling in about something unexpected taking place around the world. Strange portals, just like the one by her train, have appeared and a hologram has delivered a message predicting that a comet will crash into Earth in six months time. It’s the end of the world. The only for humanity to save themselves is to enter the portals in their respective regions and escape to the perfect world on the other side. Humanity needs to carefully consider their choice. Stay and face certain death or choose life by walking through the portal.
The scientists and governments of the world quickly refute the claim. No asteroids have been detected. Carry on with your lives and try to ignore the intrusion, they say. This is, of course, easier said than done. People carefully consider the alternatives and eventually, with the permission of the UN and governments around the world, go through the portals, hoping for a better life. Religious communities seem divided, with some of Alex’s closest friends being caught between what their families and churches believes and what the rest of the world believes.
For Alex, all of this causes a great deal of anxiety. Not only are her friends of varying opinions about what to do but she’s also torn between what those close to her feels and her loyalties to her immediate family. Her father in particular becomes more and more obsessed with preparing for the end, refusing to even consider that the portals and the alleged threat is real. The government of the United States is perfectly capable of taking care of them, he thinks.
Everything changes when NASA detects the asteroid, as predicted by the holograms. They confirm it is indeed on a collision course with earth and will strike on the date predicted. They set out to try to change destiny with a variety of solutions that, if successful, hopefully will save the earth. The dilemma: the result won’t be known until its almost too late. Those that wait until the results are know may not be able to make it through a portal in time, should they want to at that point.
Once again, Alex finds herself in the middle of a sea of opinions, from those that want to leave immediately vs those that have faith in the government or other forces and those that just simply won’t leave…yet. As the exodus through the portals continues, she finds herself more and more at odds with her own family and those around her, trying to figure out what to do next and what’s even the right thing to do.
I started reading Consider without really knowing anything about the book beyond that it’s a sci-fi young adult book. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. However, once I started reading Consider it wasn’t long before I was completely hooked. At first I was a little worried that the six months would drag out. It is, after all, quite a bit of time to talk about. Lots of things can happen and I could see a story going sideways with too much detail about what’s going on.
Fortunately, Consider is nothing like that. It’s faced paced, flying through the six months at an appropriate pace, giving the reader enough of what’s going on to want to keep going but without getting bogged down in the minutia of the moment. In fact, each chapter introduces a new revelation by the holograms and usually some kind of twist or turn in the story, something that in itself kept my turning the page.
One other thing that really sticks out is Alex. From the very beginning, the reader is given a front row seat to her emotional struggles with her own mind and how it affects her and her relationship with those around her. We get to follow her through a lot of ups and downs and I can’t help but feel that a younger audience will be able to identify with her relationships and her struggles on a variety of levels.
Alex is not the only character that we see a lot of. If her life is filled with anxiety and emotional roller coasters, we also get a view into the life of her dad, who is convinced that everyone just need to stick together. We find that her brother is hiding a secret that his family doesn’t know about, a secret that many today also keep for fear of what others will think. We meet one of her closest friends from a religious family that fights her own battles between what her family and her religious community feels is right and the live she wants to lead. While the emotional state of Alex is what is closest to the reader, the struggles of all the other characters are also well developed and gives you sense of what they are going through as the six months draw to a close. Really, in general, the author I think does a great job exposing the characters of the story to a variety of social situations that I imagine many readers of Consider also find themselves in.
Although the story is clearly a bit speculative sci-fi, there’s not an overload of scientific explanations, just enough to make sense of what’s going on. Considering that it’s geared towards the YA crowd, this makes sense. No need to overload on the science to make a good story. The sci-fi is more of the background setting while the relationships between the characters are displayed front and center.
Ok, so here’s the thing. For you, there’s nothing to consider. You should definitely read this book. Why? Because when you read the last paragraph and the last sentence, you’ll immediately be sending a DM or email to the author wondering why the sequel isn’t out yet. It really is an enjoyable piece of fiction, especially if you’re at all interested in the end of the world, the apocalypse and other alternative endings to humanity as we know it, sprinkled with a bit of human drama. Consider is well worth your time.
Consider can be purchased where books are sold as well as online through Google Play and Amazon.