“All my life I’ve worked to be simple, but I can’t pretend anymore. Nothing about me is simple.”
In the year 2050, a secret government study nicknamed Operation Source Code injects eight volunteers with a retrovirus. The goal? To abate the energy crisis by reprogramming human DNA to power personal electronic devices. The experiment works but with disastrous consequences.
Seventeen years later, Lydia Troyer is far from concerned with the energy crisis. Growing up in the isolated community of Hemlock Hollow, life hasn’t changed much since 1698 when her Amish ancestors came to America. She milks her cow by hand, makes fresh bread every morning, and hopes to be courted by Jeremiah, the boy who’s been her best friend since she could walk.
But when Lydia’s father has a stroke and is taken to the outside world for medical treatment, Lydia and Jeremiah leave Hemlock Hollow. An ordinary light switch thrusts Lydia into a new world where energy is a coveted commodity and her own personal history makes her the most sought-after weapon on the planet.
I have to start this review by stating NEVER did I think a book could combine my love of my heritage, Pennsylvania Dutch/ Amish and SciFi.
Lydia is an ordinary Amish child. She does her chores, helps her community and has her sights set on a boy to court. Jeremiah (typical Amish name for a typical Amish boy) is a boy she’s known basically since birth. They are somewhat Amish rebels. They rebel in small ways, Jeremiah accepts that Lydia isn’t a typical girl, she’s more of a tomboy than the norm. He wants to partake in the Amish tradition of rumspringa and Lydia has a gut feeling it might be a disastrous idea. She was right.
Lydia’s father falls ill from a stroke and is smuggled out of the Amish reservation. The Amish are considered heathens of sorts in 2067 because they still use animals for food and clothing. Because of that they are placed on a reservation (Native American like) and forbidden to have contact with “normal” people for fear they will corrupt them. Lydia’s father is given a fake identity and taken to the “English” hospital. Lydia is faced with being with out her father so she and Jeremiah use the guise of rumspringa to see him. This sets a course that changes both of their lives completely. A simple lightbulb unearths a inert ability in Lydia that is way more than she can handle. This small incident attracts the local government who think she is accessing electricity illegally. Electricity is rationed in this time and under no circumstances can an individual use more than they are allowed. Punishment is severe. In captivity Lydia discovers a link to her past and her true heritage is slowly unraveled in front of her.
In a fast paced, terrifically written story you are taken on Lydia’s adventure of trying to correct the past and save her future. I know this story is YA but not once did it feel like it. I am seriously impressed with how the author took the simplistic Amish life and combined it with a futuristic, almost dystopian story line as seamlessly as she did. I highly recommend it. Fantastic plot, a new writer to add to my growing list of ones I follow.