Over The Rainbow by Brian Rowe
Publication Date: June 8th, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy
16-year-old Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.
When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion , a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world's population has mysteriously disappeared. But that's only the beginning...
All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.
The end was coming, faster and faster, as the plane plummeted. I peered into the carrier to see a little white terrier staring back at me.
When I closed my eyes for the final time I felt two ice-cold tears roll down my cheeks.
“Mira… I love you… I love you… I—”
The plane collided against the Earth, and I launched forward, struck my head against the cargo door, and blacked out.
I know that I am usually not a big fan of fantasy novels but there was something about this one that sounded different. And I have to say that I wasn't disappointed. I think the story os very unique and different from everything I have ever read!
I think that the pacing of the story is very good and towards the middle it becomes really action packed and I couldn't stop reading until I found out whether or not the characters made it out alives.
I tried but I didn't "click" very well with Zippy (the main character)...I think that she was supposed to be smart but sometimes her actions were a bit irresponsible and crazy (even though she always succeeded in what she was doing). I also hated her father (but that is understandable). And I really liked the rest of the characters.
One of the interesting things in this novel are the little chapters from a few years before, that allowed me to understand Zippy's life better and also her relationship with her family.
So why draw from The Wizard of Oz so much in Over the Rainbow? The idea of re-imagining one of my favorite movies of all time was actually an accident. When I started outlining the book, I didn't think about The Wizard of Oz, but the similarities started popping up right away, and ultimately they had to either be embraced or dismissed. I knew the main character Zippy Green was going to meet three people on her journey, and I also knew I wanted to send her to Seattle, Washington. When I learned that a nickname for Seattle is The Emerald City, I knew that The Wizard of Oz was destined to become a major part of my book.
I thought it was fun in the writing to incorporate elements of The Wizard of Oz just enough so that the fans would see how it's all a subversive, modern re-imagining, but I also made sure to have the references be subtle enough so that you could read Over the Rainbow without thinking about The Wizard of Oz, and the book would still work on its own. Some moments are obvious (Zippy says "I have a feeling I'm not in Kansas anymore" in Chapter 2), and some are super specific, the kind of in-jokes you'll blink and miss if you're not paying close attention (take note of Zippy's home address).
It took me the longest time to come up with a title for my newest book, and The Wizard of Oz helped me there, too. The first title was Once Upon a Time in Topeka, then I went with Enraptured for awhile. In the end I love that the book is called Over the Rainbow. Not only does it reference the classic film, and not only does a rainbow show up in the final scene, but the image of the rainbow brings to mind pride and tolerance in the LGBT community, which is the most prevalent and important theme that runs throughout the book.
Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He's written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.
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