by Mallory Hill
Print Length: 237 pages
Publisher: Fiction Studio Books (January 17, 2017)
My Rating 3.75 of 5.0
WINNER OF THE SECOND ANNUAL AUTHORS FIRST NOVEL CONTEST
Laura Baily's life is meaningless. In a world where purpose and passion are everything, Laura feels as though she has no place and no business even existing. Her life is forfeit, and it would be better for everyone if she simply ended it, if she simply got a ticket for a train to oblivion and faded from memory.
But what awaits her at the end of the line isn't death but Terminal B – a community of people more like her than she considered possible, including the beautiful, tormented Will Noble. Though Laura still thinks little of her own life, the lives of others begin to fascinate her as never before. And when those lives become imperiled, Laura discovers the last thing she ever expected to find on her way out of the world: a mission and a reason to live.
Compelling on both a human and global scale, TERMINAL REGRESSION is a novel of rare power and humanity. It is the story of a tomorrow that teeters on the edge of utopia and dystopia and a resigned outsider who might just change it forever.
Laura feels she has failed at everything in her life. She doesn’t have a place in a world where everyone finds their niche and happily goes about their chosen work.
Laura’s parents were both talented artists but her father was sent away when she was a child. She watched as he boarded the Terminal B train, understanding that he was being sent to his death. She couldn’t understand why and her life has been a struggle ever since. Her free-spirited mother is active in the artist community and continues to push Laura to use her art even though Laura is sure her efforts are pathetic. Laura has made the rounds of the different communities, hoping to find a place where she can find a purpose; where she can fit in. Finally, she decides she will just get a ticket for Terminal B but she will let her mother think she was sent.
On the Terminal B ride, Laura runs into Will who was the most popular and friendly boy in fifth grade. Laura is surprised he even remembers her and more surprised that he should be on the train. They arrive at the end of the line to discover they are not dead… although they might wish they were.
Laura is sent to a farm and Will to a factory plant. Laura later learns that Will’s ticket wasn’t voluntary. He was accused of violent behavior and now must work in a place that treats the workers as expendable. Laura takes on the task of keeping Will alive and sane. Will is upbeat and optimistic to balance out Laura’s dark, moody pessimism. He needs her help but she needs him to provide her a purpose.
Laura believes that she must get word back to her mother and the city dwellers of the true nature of Terminal B, especially if Will is to survive. Some of Laura’s new co-workers help her plan a clandestine escape. Before Laura and Will can get back to the city she will face another huge surprise. If they can manage to escape, life will change for everyone.
I had to push to get through this because of Laura’s negative, defeatist attitude. The character’s statement at 42% in, “Happiness was a foreign concept”, is a totally foreign concept to me. That theme of failure and unhappiness permeates the book and is repeated, ad nauseam, even at 92%.
Will at least gives a breath of hope. The author has created an interesting dystopia world where perception is not always real. I found the young protagonist difficult to relate to and I think I might have enjoyed it more with less teenage angst and self-centeredness. I did like the twist and suspense late in the book. I recommend this to readers who like dystopia and can deal with the defeatist tone.
I received this through NetGalley. It qualifies for 2017 NetGalley Challenge and “T” for NG in Alphabet Challenge.