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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever read a book that had you so riveted you were shocked to realize you had reached the end of the story? That's what happened to me as I raced through the pages of New America Awakenings by Tyler Davis. Davis had me on the edge of my seat as I read about a world in the not so distant, or not even improbable future. In this future world, America has broken down into civil war and the primary issues are now race and religion with religion trumping everything. Those not in power survive on protein bars and live in run-down or bombed apartment projects. They live in constant fear of saying or doing anything that could be considered blasphemy, and punishments are horrifically cruel. Picture heads, not one but many, dropping into troughs after being guillotined en masse, or a young teen receiving ten skin-shredding lashes for speaking out to save a parent. Worse yet? Imagine sick people, both seniors and infants, being treated with poison during a pandemic. What a hell of a world! It’s a world that conjures up the Inquisition or bloodied bodies in the Colosseum, a world in which it is mandated that citizens watch the cruel purging of society.
This is the world in which teenager Colt Jenkins and his family try to survive under constant fear of being reported by their neighbor across the street, Katherine Shay, the narcissistic and self-appointed messenger from God. Katherine is ever-watchful and ready to pounce on Colt or anyone who displeases her on her way to the top of not just religious, but political power. Despite Katherine, Colt is determined to save himself, his family, and his friends from Katherine’s machinations. Does he do it? This is the point where you turn the last page hoping to find out. But what you find, as has been the case throughout the book, is there’s so much more going on behind the scenes in this novel and it’s going to take the next book to see the full picture. Frustrating? For sure. But so clever you won’t mind waiting to read what happens next. New America Awakenings is based on a unique concept, with a thoroughly engaging plot, lots of dialogue, realistic and relatable characters, and the universal theme of love of family and friends standing in sharp contrast to self-importance and man's inhumanity to man…gripping in every way. Read it!