blo Teens Read and Write: NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge

Saturday, July 10, 2010

NOMANSLAND by Lesley Hauge

by Lesley Hauge
6/22/10 - Henry Holt
Teen Fiction


Sometime in the future, a lonely, windswept island is populated solely by women. Among these women is a group of teenaged Trackers—expert equestrians and archers—whose job is to protect their shores from the enemy. The enemy, they’ve been told, is men. 

When these girls come upon a partially buried home from the distant past, they are fascinated by the strange objects—high-heeled shoes, teen magazines, make-up—found there. What are they to make of these mysterious things? And what does it mean for their strict society where friendship is forbidden and rules must be obeyed—at all costs?

My Review

Nomansland focuses a post apocalyptic women-only society living a secluded existence on a remote island. All the women/girls are given particular jobs and Keller is among the elite trackers trained to fight if men ever attack. 

It's better than being a breeder - artificially inseminated, your baby taken away. Only the girls are raised by the group. The boys? They're never seen again.  

The girls are stifled - must follow strict rules, deny anything feminine, smother emotions. While they're a unit, friends aren't allowed. Our protagonist, Keller, starts questioning the rules but it's Laing, who is much more cavalier about wanting to break loose. 

When Laing, Callow and Keller secretly find a buried home, they explore the fun teen-girl stuff that they've never experienced. 

The Council shows up, the girls further question all they've been told, Keller discovers uncomfortable truths, makes hard decisions and they all deal with the consequences. 

Nomansland isn't what I expected - a dystopian action/adventure this is not. Nomansland moves slowly but is compelling and powerful. It explores women's roles, the benefits or evils of material things, social interaction, friendship, loyalty, and group thought vs. individuality. 

I got caught up in Keller's dilemmas and Laing's drama and...well, Hauge did a great job making the characters complex and interesting. Some harsh realities are confronted. I actually got teary at the end which was sad and happy, sweet and bitter. Just a lot going on here. 

ROMANCE: None. They're aren't any men (except in a very minimal role) and while homosexuality is hinted at, nothing's developed or explicit.  

Nomansland has been compared to Lowry's The Giver and Gathering Blue, and I'd agree. 

BOTTOMLINE: Thought-provoking, complex dystopian that delves into society/cultural norms and expectations. Intriguing, and while the plot moves along at a slow pace, I was compelled to keep reading, thoroughly invested in the characters and how the story would play out. Who knew such a slow read would keep me captivated? 

Recommended for older teens because of the depth of topics explored - this is not a light read. Nomansland would make a great book club read, especially a mother/daughter group as it could provoke good discussion.

THE COVER: I love it. It looks like a beautiful painting, but I don't think it represents the book well. It gave me the impression that action and battles would ensue. However, the battles are more emotional struggles of will, not physical. 

FIRST LINES: Today Amos, our instructor, keeps us waiting. Our horses grow impatient, stamping and snorting and tossing their heads. When she does appear, she looks even thinner than usual, her bald head bowed in the wind. 

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YA Book Queen said...

Nice review! Doesn't sound like what I thought it would be, but still intriguing, :)

Cara said...

I love your review so much. This looks really interesting and just got added to the TBR pile. (:

Amelia said...

Ah, Alyssa! Beat me to this one. XD I started reading "Nomansland" yesterday, but then I got a copy of "Linger" and so I put it aside. Your review was interesting and I can't wait to continue reading. :)


Alex Bennett from Electrifying Reviews said...

Totally gonna pick this one up soon!

Sarah said...

Wow, this sounds so different than I expected it to be. But the plot line sounds fantastic. I've gotta add this to my wishlist. Thanks for the review! :)

Faye( Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm) said...

Great review! complex characters. I can't wait 2 read this one!

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

Fantastic review! I was curious about this book since the first time I heard about it a while back. But I like the fact that it deals with interesting topics like the ones you listed!

The Book Owl said...

Sounds like my kind of read! I, too, really like the cover.

Anonymous said...

I love the cover! The story sounds good too but it is too bad there isn't a lot of action.

Blodeuedd said...

It does make me wonder where the men are, and what happens to those baby boys

Golden Eagle said...

Great review! I want to read it now. :)

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Interesting..I will dwell on this one. Not sure if I will add it. Seems so different from anything I have read. (maybe it's time for a change)

Kulsuma said...

Hm, dystopian/post-apocalyptic books are my thing so this interested me. It sounds like a slightly similar idea to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and from your review which indicates that it's slow and lacks men, it reminds me of a book I read recently called 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness which lacks WOMEN. I felt the book had potential at the beginning (What book doesn't?) but then disappointed me at the end for failing to deliver on earlier indications of events to happen at the end/ a satisfactory ending. It too was slow paced and the main character, Todd, just didn't find out enough information. Also, he was too far away from the action. /end rant.

Anyway, I really like the cover of this book.

Good review.

Dwayne said...

Such an interesting book - and equally interesting review! Will look forward to this awesomeness!

Manga Maniac said...

Nice review. This is one of the best books I've read in 2010.

samantha.1020 said...

This sounds VERY interesting and I totally would have passed it by if not for your review. So thanks for sharing!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Awesome review! Thank you for the content warning. It reminds me of the Hand Maidens Tale :)

lulilut said...

Thanks for the review! Sounds intriguing.

EVA SB said...

This story sounds rather chilling and therfore fascinating!

Unknown said...

Looks great! I've been wanting to read this! thanks for the review!

Debs Desk said...

Great review. Please include me in your giveaway.
Debbie D

Tore923 said...

I am a follower. The book sounds very interesting. Please enter me in contest.

Anonymous said...

Awesome review! I'm a follower.

Giada M. said...

This book sounds so intrigiung! Thank you for your review! Please enter me in the contest.

Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

This is one I'd not heard mentioned before but sounds intriguing. Would love a chance to win a copy.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

oops forgot to say I was a follower

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Cecelia said...

I'm very intrigued by this one. Nice review!

Laura said...

Enter me in the contest please! I'm a follower :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds really different and intriguing. Please enter me into the contest!

I'll send you my contact info.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Awesome review! She sounds like such a strong heroine! i love it!

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

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