Q by Christina Dalcher – Book Review
Author – Christina Dalcher
Publisher – HQ
Pages – 384
Released – 30th April 2020
ISBN-13 – 978-0008303341
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
Review by – Stacey
Rating – 4 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
This post contains affiliate links.
IN THIS WORLD, PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING
Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.
Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.
Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.
But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…
For many years I have loved dystopian books. I love reading about how the authors’ idea of a futuristic, government-controlled world would look and whilst there are some vast differences between dystopian books there is always one similarity, the rich, clever, and good get the best in society, the poor, not so well educated, and those that are not perfect, get the worst there is to offer. In Q this is certainly brought to the forefront.
Everyone has to undergo tests every so often to discover what their Q score is. Score highly and you get the best in life such as a good job, the ability to shop whenever you wish, a nice house, etc. Score badly and all that changes. The score isn’t only based on your IQ level it is based on your genetics, married status, finances, health, sexual status, etc.
The schools are split into different levels, the high achiever’s school, the less achiever’s school, and the yellow card boarding school where those that go below a certain score are sent, away from others in society.
Elena Fairchild is a popular and well-liked teacher at one of the more elite schools. She is married to Malcolm who is a member of the government department responsible for setting up and monitoring these rules and implementing them. They have two daughters, Anne who excels at everything, and Freddie who is nine and in today’s society would probably be on the Autism Spectrum. Her grades are not so good.
In fact, Freddie scores so low on one of her tests that she is sent to one of these boarding schools in Kansas. Elena does what any drastic mother would have done in that situation, she botches her own test so that she can stay with her daughter, but the boarding school isn’t like what they have been made to believe, it is hell on Earth.
This is the first book by Christina Dalcher that I have read and from what I know about her first book and after reading this one she sure can write a dystopian novel. The book is heartbreaking, angering, comforting, and body-shuddering all at the same time.
You have the government and their policies and boarding school on one side, versus a mother’s love on the other. We not only get to read about what is happening now, but we are also taken back in time and see how this all began and how Elena after finding out during pregnancy that her baby wouldn’t score very well changed the results so that she could keep her child.
You also always find one character in these types of books that make you want to reach into the pages and ripped them apart and Elena’s husband Malcolm is that person in this book. How she married such an evil, despicable man in baffling. What makes a person behave and think the way he does?
Overall this is a book that dystopian fans should read. It is edgy, riveting, and kept me turning the pages needing to know everything. It also had me thankful that even though we are living through horrid, scary times at the moment they are nothing compared to what living in a Q society would be like.
Book Reviewer – Stacey
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About the Author
Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specialized in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.
Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognition’s include first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award as well as nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions.
Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Dalcher’s novels.
After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Andalucia, Spain.