Publication Date: October 14, 2014
The Mayor of Somewhere wants to build a bridge between his town and the Town of Nowhere. His secretary, Amarillo Saffron, is all for the connection. Her sister, Cerulean, has been stranded in Nowhere for nine years and Amarillo desperately wants to find her. There’s strong opposition to the bridge and saboteurs may just have prevented its construction for good. Can a town with no hope be connected with hope to spare?
The author, Shana Hammaker, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
The Road to Nowhere is a story with a lot of moving parts. Hammaker has built a deeply fascinating world. Somewhere is a happy town bursting with color. Inhabitants recycle their emotions blowing them into inhalers that are then passed to the local recycling plant where negative emotions are incinerated and positive emotions are re-introduced to users in pill form. Nowhere has a Neverland sort of fee. It is a town of lost children. Hope is in such short sort supply and so desired, that it is the vehicle for the child gang, The Outlawz, and the payment they accept for underhanded acts.
Cerulean is a mother figure in Nowhere. She senses when new children arrive and meets them. She invites them into her makeshift family. Early on in the novel a young girl arrives who wants desperately to be reunited with her family, and Cerulean tells her that they will be her family now. Cerulean is in some senses a defeatist character that is determined to take what she feels to be her lot in life seriously and to keep her young family safe. Amarillo of Somewhere is a character who, in the spirit of her environment, has never lost hope. She is exacting and when she notices some disturbing elements about Nowhere’s demographics comes to know what she should do. While reading the supposed Utopia of Somewhere and the Dystopia of Nowhere it becomes clear to the reader that both have their positive points and their deeply disturbing lows. “The Road to Nowhere” is a deeply symbolic story that act as a bridge in itself for young readers looking for a transition to fiction with deep symbolism and meaning.
The Road to Nowhere is a very smooth-plotted and professionally crafted novel. Hammaker lays the foundation, slowly building tension and creating a vivid backdrop. Those savvy readers connecting the dots, will perhaps see one of the most convincing narratives I’ve read on the subject of the problem with “forgetting everything.” Going to bed in an altered state doesn’t change the world to which you wake up. I’d love for Alex to read this novel and for us to discuss. I think it would be interesting to hear what she’d take away from this story. There are a number of other moving parts and implied symbolism that could be discussed. The Road to Nowhere is a very rich read including a political sabotage subtext. The Road to Nowhere is rife with poignant moments for the reader.
There were imperfections in the novel with the pacing that I believe may have been solved if I was a younger reader. Some of the points were forced. Some of the scenes were perhaps not as fleshed out as they should have been. In actuality, these points just bring the novel from a 5-star-read to a 4-star-read. The feel of Hammaker’s writing is Jasper Fforde Jr. There is depth to her storytelling. This is a satisfying story that makes the transition from Sweet Valley High to Vonnegut. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and plan to recommend it to my 17-year-old niece who is a senior in high school and a voracious reader. If you have a young reader in your life over the age of 12, pick The Road to Nowhere up today and be sure to let me know what they thought of the novel.
To read an excerpt and buy A Road to Nowhere by Shana Hammaker click: