The salt line A novel

Holly Goddard Jones

Book - 2017

"In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump "the Salt Line." How far will they go for their freedom--once they decide what freedom really means? In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line--a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from dea...dly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife. Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks--and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line"--

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Subjects
Genres
Dystopian fiction
Dystopias
Science fiction
Published
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
388 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780735214316
073521431X
Main Author
Holly Goddard Jones (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Jones' (The Next Time You See Me, 2013) latest is a dystopian tale set in the near future when the world is overrun by horrific "miner ticks" that kill all whom they bite. "The Salt Line" refers to a chemical border that demarcates "zones" protected from the ticks. Life in these zones is much like that in Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story (2010), a manufactured world where all interactions are controlled through ubiquitous social-media apps. The story is told from the perspectives of Edie, Marta, and Wes, who are part of a group on a very expensive excursion to the dangerous world outside of the zones. After they are all mysteriously kidnapped, the narrative twists and turns as the reasons for their capture unfold. This mystery-like structure keeps the reader guessing as Jones switches seamlessly from evocative pastoral descriptions of North Carolina and Tennessee to action-packed scenes of violence. Along the way, she explores themes of environmental degradation, technological dependence, and corporate greed. At once dark, disturbing, and highly enjoyable, this is a timely novel bursting with ideas. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Rona Jaffe Award winner Jones gives her literary work a dystopic twist with a futuristic story set in an America sequestered behind a salt line—scorched earth that protects citizens from a ferocious troop of disease-carrying ticks. Looking for high-risk kicks, several characters journey beyond the line. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the near future, most people live in protected walled enclaves as the outside world has become far too dangerous owing to the rising ecological disaster of deadly ticks that use humans as hosts for their eggs. Going into the wilderness, though, has become a new form of tourism for the wealthy, who spend vast amounts of money to experience life in an unprotected environment. When Edie's pop-star boyfriend decides that two weeks in the great outdoors would be a marvelous holiday, they book a tour, learn how to burn ticks before they can burrow under their skin, and pack their bags. Their adventure quickly becomes a nightmare when their tour group is taken hostage by survivors who live beyond the Salt Line (a ring of scorched earth the ticks can't cross). While the author's (The Next Time You See Me) premise is excellent, her execution is somewhat uneven. Aside from Edie, many of the characters are flat and interchangeable, and it's a challenge for the reader to maintain a sense of empathy as new characters are introduced and then killed off. VERDICT Dystopian literature is very popular, and the notion of killer ticks is ecologically interesting and adds a unique twist on end-of-the-world scenarios. Despite its flaws, Jones's new novel will find plenty of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 3/27/17.]—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set in the near future, this second novel from Jones (The Next Time You See Me) introduces readers to a U.S. separated into territories behind giant vibrating walls (called "the salt line") designed to keep out tiny ticks that carry the fatal Shreve's disease. While life behind the salt line feels very similar to our social media–driven contemporary world, extreme tourism expeditions into the wild offer the rich and famous an opportunity to remember a natural setting free from physical borders. The narrative focuses on one such expedition, introducing a full cast of complex characters with hidden motivations—a rock star and his girlfriend, a tech mogul, and an unassuming housewife. As the group leaves behind the comfort of life behind the salt line and acclimates to the dangers normally kept at bay, allegiances are tested and new friendships are forged. Fans of Jones will appreciate her return to an ensemble-driven narrative, and new fans will find social commentary and intense thrills rolled into one seamless story. Outwardly an adventure story, this suspenseful novel uses a thrilling premise to examine the fallout of abandoning universal freedoms in order to ensure collective safety. (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a future world where the United States' borders have receded behind a ring of scorched earth to protect citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks, a group of extreme adventurers find themselves at the center of a murderous plot.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In a future world where the United States' borders have receded behind a ring of scorched earth to protect citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks, a group of extreme adventurers find themselves at the center of a murderous plot. By the award-winning author of The Next Time You See Me.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump "the Salt Line." How far will they go for their freedom--once they decide what freedom really means? In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line--a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expeditioninclude a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife. Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks--and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"Great, near-future sci-fi...A propulsive, character-driven thriller...I really love this book."—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble and Magic for Beginners In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump “the Salt Line.”How far will they go for their freedom—once they decide what freedom really means?In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife. Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks—and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.