Tent City by Kelly Van Hull

A copy of Tent City was kindly sent to me by Kelly Van Hull in exchange for an honest review. 

Tent City is brutally fast paced and relentless, from the moment I started reading it was all action all the time, mostly this worked well but I did find the narrative a bit scattered sometimes with Dani jumping from topic to topic in her mind. Reading everything from Dani’s perspective was a little wearing at times as she had lots of ‘I like him, why do I like him, no I don’t like him, why doesn’t he like me back’ moments for the first half of the story and I found it pretty ironic how much she complained about Jack and Bentley jumping from hot and cold when that’s what she spent most of her time doing, but maybe that’s to be expected from a seventeen year old girl. She was actually quite likeable in spite of this, and I loved the way she developed and grew up throughout. I found myself falling for most of the characters, predictably Jack had me swooning which I just knew he would from the moment he appeared and saved the day.

I found the idea of a little commune of teenagers trying to survive a crazy government pretty intriguing; placing it the Black Hills of Dakota was new for me as most of the dystopian fiction I’ve read has been set in in really futuristic or fantastical settings. There is an underlying mystery to the whole story that keeps you wanting to read until the very end and I like the way Van Hull gives you little teasers of information and twists throughout; just when you think you have it all figured some crazy new development happens.

I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this (I’m still quite dubious about self-publishing), but the plot, characters and grammar were all brilliant; my only qualms with Tent City are that the religious undertones of it were a bit strange until the end, as a non-religious person I wasn’t sure how I felt about plague references, guardians etc. but it does add an interesting dimension to the story, and the many instances of ‘ya’ and ‘gotta’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘got to’ bugged me, but that’s just a personal preference.*

Read: May 29th-30th

4/5 stars

*spoilers from Goodreads removed


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