Customer Reviews for

California

Average Rating 3
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel. I am infatuated with

California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

"The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles fa...
California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

"The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live a shack in the wilderness, working side by side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship.....But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is turned upside down when Frida finds out she's pregnant."

There hasn't been a great nuclear war or one significant event that has heralded the end of the world that Cal and Frida knew. Instead it has been a series of natural disasters and reluctant but necessary acceptance of the way things are now. Society has eroded into the haves and the have nots. While Cal and Frida make their home in a shack, those that can afford to, live in safe, gated communities with food, health care and more. I immediately thought that this scenario is not that far off - having just read a newspaper story of water being turned off - the city of Detroit sprang to mind.

I wanted to know to know more about the erosion of society, but this isn't the focus of the book. Instead it is what comes after. I also wanted to know what lay beyond the woods that Cal and Frida have settled in. Are the rumours of other outsider settlements true?

I'm always fascinated by an author's world building in such novels. Lepucki does a good job imagining what might be. I think because it is so 'near future' and absolutely believable that the world of California is all the more chilling.

There are a great number of varied characters populating California. Of the two lead characters I was drawn to and empathized with Cal. I have to say that I didn't like Frida at all as I found her spoiled and selfish. But several of the players from 'beyond' the woods really captured my interest.

Much, if not most of the book, is focused on the characters and their interactions - between couples, family, friends and strangers. A society rebuilding does not necessarily learn from it's past mistakes. Much of what happens can be sadly predicted. Lepucki infuses this rebuilding with a plot that was slowly (and a bit maddeningly) revealed. The buildup to the end in the last quarter of the book is tension and action filled and had me reading just another chapter before bed. But the actual ending left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I found it anti-climatic after the journey to get there. It's a bit nebulous, leaving the reader to their own inferences as to what happens going forward.

Still, California was a strong debut and I would be interested in reading Lepucki's next novel.

posted by Twink on July 11, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south q

It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south quickly and the ending seems like there must have been a deadline to meet. I almost quit reading it but made myself see it through. Disappointing.

posted by cstmoi9322 on July 14, 2014

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel. I am infatuated with

    California is Edan Lepucki's debut novel.

    I am infatuated with dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The description of California immediately caught my eye...

    "The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live a shack in the wilderness, working side by side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship.....But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is turned upside down when Frida finds out she's pregnant."

    There hasn't been a great nuclear war or one significant event that has heralded the end of the world that Cal and Frida knew. Instead it has been a series of natural disasters and reluctant but necessary acceptance of the way things are now. Society has eroded into the haves and the have nots. While Cal and Frida make their home in a shack, those that can afford to, live in safe, gated communities with food, health care and more. I immediately thought that this scenario is not that far off - having just read a newspaper story of water being turned off - the city of Detroit sprang to mind.

    I wanted to know to know more about the erosion of society, but this isn't the focus of the book. Instead it is what comes after. I also wanted to know what lay beyond the woods that Cal and Frida have settled in. Are the rumours of other outsider settlements true?

    I'm always fascinated by an author's world building in such novels. Lepucki does a good job imagining what might be. I think because it is so 'near future' and absolutely believable that the world of California is all the more chilling.

    There are a great number of varied characters populating California. Of the two lead characters I was drawn to and empathized with Cal. I have to say that I didn't like Frida at all as I found her spoiled and selfish. But several of the players from 'beyond' the woods really captured my interest.

    Much, if not most of the book, is focused on the characters and their interactions - between couples, family, friends and strangers. A society rebuilding does not necessarily learn from it's past mistakes. Much of what happens can be sadly predicted. Lepucki infuses this rebuilding with a plot that was slowly (and a bit maddeningly) revealed. The buildup to the end in the last quarter of the book is tension and action filled and had me reading just another chapter before bed. But the actual ending left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. I found it anti-climatic after the journey to get there. It's a bit nebulous, leaving the reader to their own inferences as to what happens going forward.

    Still, California was a strong debut and I would be interested in reading Lepucki's next novel.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Post-apocalyptic stories are generally my favorite so I was draw

    Post-apocalyptic stories are generally my favorite so I was drawn to read this book.  I was excited as It was a take on the end of the world that wasn't necessarily about zombies or full on war.  It had promise but really fell short.  The writing is good, settings are intriguing, but to be honest Frida and Cal are pretty delusional, unlike-able characters.  There marriage is weak at best - much of the novel is spent lying and keeping things from one another.  Frida is childish - it is mentioned that Cal sees her as this strong independent woman but she doesn't act a bit like this.  Cal is supposed to be this rugged, intellectual hipster - but he doesn't think much through and is irrationally paranoid.  As for the plot itself it started out strong, but really falls short quickly.  The flashbacks are inconsistent and generally confusing.  Overall this really would have been much better if it just focused on the fall of society.  Would have been more interesting than what's here.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south q

    It starts out great, pretty promising. But then it goes south quickly and the ending seems like there must have been a deadline to meet. I almost quit reading it but made myself see it through. Disappointing.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Mixed bag

    Although it took a few chapters to really get into the author's writing style, I did eventually get caught up in the storyline. I was VERY disappointed in the ending of the book. Since I purchased the eBook, I was quite shocked when I reached the end. I thought for sure that I somehow did not get all the chapters. Too many things left hanging. Even if the plan is to write a sequel.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    A disappointment, A snooze

    It was tempting to fast forward through parts of this book as the pacing was so slow and the plot so obviously silly. Not the worst book I have read, but definitely not one I would recommend for others to read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Lame

    DONT GET IT

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Great

    Very good

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Sucks

    Very boring

    2 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    Total let down

    I would have given this book 5 stars had it not been for the horrible ending. It just stopped out of nowhere leaving the story unfinished. Hoping there is a sequel in the near future otherwise I wasted my time and money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2014

    Worst Book Ever

    Poorly written. Hated all of the characters. Starts off well then quickly makes a turn for the worst. Does the author actually know the meaning of the word feminist...

    Very fustrating how the characters refuse to really question or speak to each other for a multitude of chapters.

    Would have read better as a short story.

    All you need to know: turkey baster, the color red, a lover of baking, a lover of farming, a terroristic brother, a small crop of people surround by spikes with no kids, another crop of people who are better off, a big mouth and then the very lucky to be alive couple gets even luckier due to their own stupidity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2014

    Loved the story, writing style drew me in to their world, and th

    Loved the story, writing style drew me in to their world, and then! WTH like OH its due tomorrow? let me end it now.
    Stupidest ending of all time, I want my 300 pages of my life back.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2014

    Waste of time..

    Waste of time..

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Awful

    Awful

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    I haven't read the book but I am offended that you published a r

    I haven't read the book but I am offended that you published a review written in "diddle doodle". Isn't the English language in bad enough shape without this kind of nonsense. n

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2014

    Good Read

    Interesting read, a bit uneven in a couple of places but overall a good book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Very slow and boring to me.

    Very slow and boring to me.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Boring

    I didnt like it. I wish i can give it 0 stars not worth the money

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2014

    Just say no....

    I love dystopian novels for the most part.Just not this one,Its long,interesting here & there,but no, it gets a little step-ford ish.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Highly recommend

    I am not quite finished with the book but it is very good. You find yourself getting wrapped up in the experiences of the characters and you look forward to what will happen next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    I never quit reading a book once I start, but I did with this on

    I never quit reading a book once I start, but I did with this one. I simply couldn't get interested due to the very slow pace and uninteresting characters. I guess I need more suspense than this book could provide.

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