Title: All City
Author: Alex DiFrancesco
LGBTQ+ Category: Genderqueer
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Reviewer: Linda Tonis, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
In a near-future New York City in which both global warming and a tremendous economic divide are making the city unlivable for many, a huge superstorm hits, leaving behind only those who had nowhere else to go and no way to get out.
Makayla is a twenty-four-year-old woman who works at the convenience store chain that’s taken over the city. Jesse, an eighteen-year-old, genderqueer, anarchist punk lives in an abandoned IRT station in the Bronx.
Their paths cross in the aftermath of the storm when they, along with others devastated by the loss of their homes, carve out a small sanctuary in an abandoned luxury condo. In an attempt to bring hope to those who feel forsaken, an unnamed, mysterious street artist begins graffitiing colorful murals along the sides of buildings.
But the castaways of the storm aren’t the only ones who find beauty in the art. When the media begins broadcasting the emergence of the murals and one appears on the building Makayla, Jesse, and their friends are living in, it is only a matter of time before those who own the building come back to claim what is theirs.
All City is more than a novel, it’s a foreshadowing of the world to come.
The city is expecting a superstorm named Bernice, no suprise because in reality that seems to happen all the time, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and countless other cities and states left in rubble, cars floating in water, boats sitting in front yards, been there done that and so this book all though fiction could be our future and it is scary as hell.
Makalya has seen to her grandmothers care when she refused to stay with her, she has food, water and is high enough off the ground that water should not be a problem. Makalya returned to her basement apartment in Brooklyn to wait out the storm when she received a call from her best friend Jayden inviting her to stay with him. Jayden is high enough to be safe and has made sure there were provisions, a generator and water so Makalya didn’t hesitate to take him up on his offer.
The storm hit and it hit big, water was everywhere in spite of the fact that they were inland and not near water. No electricity, no suprise, looting, raping, beatings, murder just an added addition to the ravaging below. Waiting for a boat for days and when one finally arrived Makalya decided that a family with a child should go first leaving them once again waiting to be saved. There was no way for them to go out, the water was up to the first floor of the building and when a boat finally appeared and took them to a shelter it was like going from one hell to another. Bodies laying on the floor, people dying, the smell beyond anything they could have imagined and people ready, willing and able to take anything they wanted whether it was theirs or not.
Jayden and Makalya stayed close and wound up with a little boy who was alone, scared, hungry and not talking. There was no way they were going to leave this little boy behind. As soon as the water receeded they were able to make their way out, but where do they go, they go to a condo a building for the rich standing alone and make it a home.
Jesse is a genderqueer living with two other boys who ran away from home rather than be deported. Living in a train station it becomes apparent that staying there would be very unhealthy especially when one of them becomes deathly ill. Before long they find themselves in Brooklyn and at the same condo Makayla and others have made into a home. Like Makalya and Jayden they never knew what it meant to have any luxuries but they made due with what they had and shared it with others.
Then there was Evann a rich girl who partied through the storm and after. A girl who never knew what it meant to worry about your next meal or drink of water, a girl whose biggest concern was her previous paintings and while Makalya, Jayden and the rest went searching for food and water trying to stay alive Evann worried over a painting she loved and lost to the storm.
At a time when everything is falling apart an artist is painting beautiful pictures of buildings giving hope to those who have lost everything but when he painted a picture on the side of the building Makalya and everyone were staying it brought the Mayor, police and building owner’s attention to what was going on. I won’t go into any more detail as to what happened to everyone, needless to say some of the main characters made the mistake of believing people could be trusted and paid dearly but they knew that living where they were their days were numbered.
This is a book that scared me worse than any horror movie because we are living this nightmare everyday and when you read about these characters and what they suffered through it brings the nightmare too close to home. I can only say that this book brought tears to my eyes and made me hope for a better future.
I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.
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