Page Count 384
Publication date April 2020/ Publisher HQ
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…
America has changed. Children are separated into tiered schools based on their ‘Q’ score. Silver for the prodigies, green for the clever, and yellow for the rest. Yellow for those left behind.
A child that ranks into a yellow tier school is whisked away to a 365 day a year education far from their home and family, all future career prospects stripped and reputation shattered.
Intelligence is the only thing that matters now.
Swings stand still and skate parks empty whilst children spend every waking moment studying. Car parks are automated, attendants are automated even Starbucks is automated. Little by little all ‘unskilled’ jobs are disappearing entirely, leaving none for those who don’t make the cut.
‘I wonder where all the yellow school kids will be in another ten years. I wonder what we’ll do with the people who aren’t necessary anymore.’
Written in first person from Elena’s perspective in both past and present tense we switch between the current timeline and events throughout her past leading to the present situation.
I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character as much as Malcolm. Dalcher writes him perfectly, he may be fictional, (although Christina assures me he is grounded in a real life acquaintance of hers!) my skin still itched to give him a mighty slap. There’s something about well to-do, calm, controlling men that is seriously sinister. Using Elena’s kind and supportive family as a sharp contrast, Dalcher gives us a clear cut villain in Malcolm, one a reader can truly love to hate.
As with Dalcher’s previous novel Vox, this is a story of oppression, only this time the victims don’t start and end with women alone. Once again a terrifyingly feasible story that uncovers the darkest depths of sociopathy.
This isn’t just a fiction, it’s a stark reminder of the attitudes and opinions of the worst of mankind. The horrors in this story can be found by merely scratching the surface of social media and the idea of a future such as this is chilling.
I loved Q, even better than Vox despite the similarities, Dalcher is one to watch.