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Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

by A. S.  King

Published by Little, Brown, 2014
306 pages
ISBN: 978-0-316-22272-3

Age 14 and older

Glory O’Brien is directionless as high school graduation approaches. She’s most comfortable looking at the world through a camera lens, and she views her own life with a certain dispassion, the way she views the people she photographs. But everything changes after she and her best friend, Ellie, drink the remains of a petrified bat. Glory can now see the history and the future of everyone she looks at. And the future Glory sees is far more unsettling than wondering if she will commit suicide in the not-too-distant future, like her photographer mother did when Glory was four. The visions Glory has over and over are of a second U.S. Civil War that erupts around a charismatic, misogynistic leader who strips women of their civil rights. Glory begins penning her own “history of the future,” documenting what she understands will happen even as she remains firmly grounded in the present, with her on-again/off-again tolerance for commune-dwelling, home-schooled Ellie’s self-centered neediness, and her attempts to disrupt the silence that has always existed between her and her loving but still-grieving dad around her mom. Glory delves into the past, too, finally accessing her mother’s darkroom, where photographs and journals reveal her mother’s own struggle with her place and perceptions of women in the world. A. S. King’s singular work is a fearless, smart, and sophisticated multi-layered yet highly accessible novel. King boldly explores cultural and societal misogyny, embracing feminism while affirming the importance of creativity, connection, and the way we sometimes need to be shaken up to see our lives and all that is possible more clearly.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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