The Twenty by Claudia Carozza
Publisher: Self Published
Available in ebook format (Amazon only) and paperback (Barnes & Noble only).
Between finishing a book and posting a review, I typically research what other people thought about the book. I like to point out things that aren’t mentioned in most of the reviews, so that readers can make a more rounded decision before buying. This time, not one of the reviews seemed to reflect at all what I read. What I did read wasn’t at all what I expected. I thought this would be a dystopian novel about a nurse caring for a woman who is one of few pregnant after years of national infertility. It kind of is, but the focus isn’t on the pregnant woman or the infertility. It’s about Hazel and her life and she just happens to be assigned to one of the pregnant women, named Elise. The story is focused on Hazel’s innocence. She acts like a child in a dangerous world, untouched by years of poverty and living with an alcoholic father.
I didn’t care about Hazel or her romance, because frankly I don’t like romance novels. I like dsytopian novels and novels with conspiracies. That’s what attracted me to this novel initially. Between the writing level and Hazel’s attitude, I felt that this had a PG rating. Hazel isn’t a virgin, but she doesn’t do anymore than kiss. There is no cussing. There’s minor violence and the bare minimum of gore (all pregnancy related). Basically, there’s no “adult” in this adult novel. Also, although Hazel is narrating and a nurse, there is zero medical jargon. It cuts down on the realism factor.
And worse, the author pulled a Twilight! Remember book two where Stephanie Meyer skips over half of Bella’s year cause she’s lost in depression? All you get is September, October, November…Well…
Blank chapters that skip over most of Hazel’s interaction with Elise so that the details of pregnancy and nursing duties could be overlooked. Instead of learning about the miracles blossoming in these women’s wombs, we get page after page of Hazel doing mundane things like eating in the cafeteria with her coworkers. I’m really frustrated as a reader, because this book had so much potential but it felt like the author skirted around things that she wasn’t familiar with instead of researching nursing, pregnancy, and the like and producing an awesome novel.
And don’t get me started on the ending. Cliffhanger. Nothing is resolved. Have to wait for part two, but I don’t think I will.
Imagine living in a time when infertility runs rampant and babies are no longer being born. The world is crumbling around you as people start talking about the end. This is the world Hazel DeSales grew up in. After her mother dies from a mysterious cancer, Hazel finds herself taking care of her younger sister Netty and alcoholic father.
It’s not until twenty women, known as the Elect, become pregnant all across the Barronlands when things start looking up. Hazel and Netty apply for jobs working as domestics in the Antioch Center where the Elect will be taken care of and protected. Hazel feels change in the air and her outlook for the future starts to improve.
But she soon learns that change is not without consequence. Rumors are brewing about a government cover up and Hazel finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So begins the unraveling of secrets that uncover things from her past and, threatening her future. Hazel is determined to seek the truth and promises herself to do whatever it takes to succeed.
This book will appeal to Dystopian Romance fans.
I won a signed copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.