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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
How Icasia Bloom Touched Happiness by Jessica Bell is a sci-fi novel set in a dystopian future where countries have merged into a single monolithic entity called the Globe, and humankind has found a way to achieve immortality. Refusing to live her life according to the Book, Icasia Bloom survives using her street smarts and making tit-for-tat bartering deals to feed her five-year-old son, Abel. After Icasia forms a friendship with bakery owner Selma Beyett, she unwittingly finds herself embroiled in helping Selma's husband Jerome receive the Letter that will grant him passage to the Second Phase of life. However, Icasia and Selma must hurry as the clock is ticking, and Jerome and his daughter Leila are at an impasse. Icasia vows to find the truth behind the Letters.
With a unique premise, author Jessica Bell builds an immersive futuristic dystopia that pushes the boundaries of your imagination and keeps you thoroughly hooked throughout the pages. The plot moves at a fast pace. The narrative is underlined with existential questions about the nature of human life in the age of technology and the pursuit of happiness in an increasingly materialistic world. I found the characters well-realized and full of flaws that make them all the more human. Icasia is a protagonist who is easy to root for, and her dynamic with Selma and Jerome forms the bedrock of the narrative. How Icasia Blooom Touched Happiness is, without doubt, one of the best sci-fi novels I've read this year. If you're a fan of futuristic worlds, I highly recommend it.