I read a lot of apocalyptic future stories when I was younger - it seems to be fully a quarter of the SF genre. Maybe if I'd read this one I wouldn't have stopped reading professional SF for nearly 20 years. It was published around the same time I started to stop going to bookstores. I keep writing and deleting because everything I think to say is a negative good. Suffice it to say: a great young heroine, a harrowing, engaging story and possibly more close to home for the visible SF reader than it was 18 years ago. Added later: Reading other reviews of this novel is fascinating. Reviewers giving it a high score almost all seem to want to find something to dislike strongly, whether it is Lauren's narrative voice, the nature of her relationship with Bankole, the centrality of faith to the story or the blistering frankness of the description of awful things (things that happen to real people now and when the book was written.) This is why number rating systems suck, by the way. But it's also an interesting glimpse into what makes the reviewer uncomfortable about the book, what they are least able to articulate.