As the world falls apart around them, orphaned twins Virginia and Tommy trek across the country to witness the launch of a rocket, hoping to find life while fleeing the draft for a war almost certain to bring death.
After their parents died when they were 5, Tommy and Virginia refused to be separated. Virginia is blessed and cursed with the ability to remember everything she experiences, completely and forever—“I don’t forget any of it. Not a single moment. I carry all of it inside of me”—and in a series of letters her father wrote to them before he died, he told them to take care of each other, a responsibility they take seriously. However, the world is in crisis. A mysterious disease is causing the elderly to fall into a sleep they never wake from, and a global war is decimating the young. When Tommy receives a draft notice, Virginia decides that before he goes to war, they’ll travel to Florida to watch the launch of a spacecraft bound for Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, which may harbor life. Their father was obsessed with Europa, and now, convinced her brother will die, Virginia resolves to take the trip as their last family memory. Their foster father, a policeman, is equally determined to bring Tommy back for his military duty. Along the way, the twins will discover beauty, betrayal, danger, goodwill—and the positives and negatives of their devotion to each other. Mott (The Wonder of All Things, 2014, etc.) brings his lyrical writing and soulful insight to another end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it storyline, but this one lacks the graceful cohesion and poetic wonder he brought to his first two titles.
Beautifully written and touching on some fascinating ideas, but the journey feels disjointed and languid.