Genre: Fiction, Apocalyptic
Ash and Pia’s move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia’s marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with “preppers” who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.
We Are Unprepared is a cautionary tale of what the future of the world could look like. It begins three months after Ash and Pia have left their old life in Brooklyn behind for a simpler and quieter existence in rural Isole,Vermont. Reports of a devastating Storm begin to surface and the fear and anxiety this produces is like nothing Ash and Pia have seen or experienced before.
This story is told entirely from Ash’s perspective and is divided into three parts. The first part is the longest and is told over several months before The Storm is scheduled to hit. The second part is when the storm actually hits and that doesn’t happen until about sixty five percent of the story is told. Though it did take quite a long time to lead up to the big event, part one was still engaging and kept me turning the pages.
The process of seeing how the citizens of Isole all handled the lead up to The Storm was quite fascinating. Everyone may have had differing ways of preparing themselves for this potentially catastrophic event but they all experienced panic, paranoia, and terror as they waited to see if The Storm would even come to fruition. Many people begin to act rashly and highly out of their normal character as they grappled with the preparations necessarily to survive the impending and ominous weather. Ash and Pia find themselves on different sides when their town is divided; he joins in the local town elders to try and do what’s best for them as a whole while she begins meeting with a group of local preppers who are mainly concerned with looking out for themselves. The pressures they are facing coupled with a tense environment put heavy strain on their marriage. How can they unite to ride out The Storm when they have such varying opinions and viewpoints? What does all this disparity mean for the future of not only their marriage, but also for society in general?
August is Ash and Pia’s seven year old neighbor who has a troubled home life. He has gravitated to Ash as he is desperate for a solid male role model. I loved watching their relationship unfold and enjoyed seeing Ash discover things about himself as their relationship evolved into something precious and personal for both of them. Throughout the book, Ash grows in some painful and poetic ways that I found endearing and tremendously touching, it really resonated with me.
While not nearly as fast paced as I often like my books to be, We Are Unprepared was still rather gripping and I was just as anxiously awaiting The Storm as the characters in the book. Little Reilly is a gifted writer who managed to convey an important message and cautionary tale while weaving it together with compelling characters that I was invested in.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to MIRA and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.