The World I Found - Reviewed by Jo Lucre | Regional News Connecting Wellington

The World I Found

Written by: Latika Vasil

Black Giraffe Press

Reviewed by: Jo Lucre

A few pages into The World I Found, I was ambivalent about whether I was going to enjoy it, but as it happens, I did.

In what is author Latika Vasil’s first foray into the young adult genre, The World I Found is narrated by 15-year-old Quinn. A seemingly innocuous sea-bound trip in the Spirit of Discovery to Campbell Island for a year, with her scientist mother, screams boredom – one personified by the distinct lack of the sweet trappings of youth: shops, junk food, fellow teens, the internet, and most importantly, her best friend Frankie.

The relative safety of the island soon dissipates when Quinn and Jeroen, the son of her mother’s peer Dr Waslander, are swept overboard as the team, hitching a ride on Greenpeace’s Artic Star, makes its way back to the homeland after communications are lost. Afar, something disturbing is afoot. Both Quinn and Jereon wash up, bruised, sea-beaten, and separated from the others on a remote beach on the mainland they came from, but no longer recognise.

They awake to the haloed face of an equally alone 12-year-old boy, Cal, peering down at them. They are soon confronted with the new normal brought about by the ravages of a deadly virus, one quickly spread with little recovery (sounds all too familiar) that has swept the mainland. Quinn, possessed with a fighting spirit yet calm demeanour, quickly realises she has more grit and tenacity than belies her youth to respond. The trio soon meet Jack and Robyn, kindly old folk living off the land, hunkered down and hoping for normality to return. But there’s something nefarious, cult-like, waiting round the bend...

The World I Found has a simple but steady premise. Of course, now that we are no strangers to pandemics and what they can bring, the novel makes you think about what you might do or become in the same scenario – only this time with a more apocalyptic vibe.

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