Reviewed by Shelley R on Sep 28, 2021
Jam is a teenage girl who lives in Lucille, a post-revolutionary town where social justice driven "angels" have defeated the "monsters" of our time and created a town where girls like Jam can live freely as themselves in safety and prosperity. Jam, who is autistic, did not speak as a baby, and the adults in Lucille accepted her as she is and taught her sign language. When she said at three-year-old that she was a girl, not a boy, the adults in Lucille accepted her as she is and, when she approached puberty, gave her free choice over which kind of puberty she wanted to go through. Life in Lucille is good, although all of the adults are cagey about how they got there. They don't talk about the things the "monsters" used to do, or what the "angels," many of whom are still alive, had to do to win the civil war. One day, a terrifying monster named Pet emerges from one of Jam's mother's paintings, and, communicating telepathically, tells Jam that it is hunting a "real monster" living in Lucille.The adults insist Pet must be wrong, that there are no more monsters in Lucille; but Pet tells Jam the monster lives in the home of her best friend, Remembrance; so Jam reluctantly, secretly, teams up with Pet to hunt down the monster, whoever it is.
Pet is not a dystopia novel. It is a novel about the trauma that lingers even when something resembling utopia has been achieved. Pet is about what happens when trauma is allowed to fester, and goes unaddressed. It's a novel about healing. It shows us a better world, and reminds us that nothing can truly be perfect either. I am a grown adult and I cried when I read this book. Personally, my new favorite book. Read Pet.
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