In the near future, the world has heated up and people struggle to find food and support themselves. Sarah and James ride the rails, going from one migrant camp to another, trying to eke out a living harvesting maguey. They dream of making enough money to buy land out East and live by the ocean. But the fates have other things in mind as they end up at Real Marvelous, a ranch rumored to be cursed and where they find themselves battling dust storms, bee swarms, and jealousies that threaten to tear their bond apart.
A gripping survival story in a striking setting. Aside from a few modernisms, the story could easily have been placed in the Depression-era dustbowl and has a definite Grapes-of-Wrath feel to it. I kind of wonder why it wasn’t, as the story works just as well as a historical novel as a dystopian. James is a bit of a cypher, but Sarah is well-developed and gritty. The story is gruesome at spots so this isn’t a tale for the fainthearted, but with a compelling heroine it’s a pretty good read and has a timelessness to it that will give the novel lasting appeal.