Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki

December 16, 2014 Blog, Book Club, Book Reviews 2

Book Review: California by Edan LepuckiCalifornia by Edan Lepucki
on July 8th 2014
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Apocalyptic
Pages: 393
Source: Brown Books, Little

The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. Consumed by fear of the future and mourning for a past they can't reclaim, they seek comfort and solace in one other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown but unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.

A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and irrepressible resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

My ThoughtsOhhh… how I wanted to like this. They synopsis seemed right up my alley, the cover was even great, but then I opened and started to read.

Sadly, I was not in love with this. I was not in LIKE with this. I won’t go so far as to say I hated it but it would not be a stretch.

I’ll go with the positives before I blather (most likely cause I’m a little annoyed) on about the negatives.

Firstly, it started well. I enjoyed the way the mystery was starting to unfold. No idea was given as to HOW the world came to be the way it was, it just was! Really good start.

My biggest gripe is that they are married and being married I understand that your spouse is not always going to be your favorite person. You may even keep a few secrets from your spouse, life goes on. With Frida and Cal they seem to not like each other and keep secrets ALL the time. What’s even more frustrating is that they do not trust each other. Well, I wonder why you two idiots!!!? This theme was not just in one portion of the book but throughout the entire thing. Frustrating to say the least when you’re trying to understand a character and just cannot because they whine too much and obsess over the smallest thing!

Some of the mystery does come out, you find out why nobody likes the color red (which honestly still doesn’t really make sense) and some other mysteries. Some of which I was able to peg before they were answered.

Now, I will admit I am an apocalyptic, horror, dystopian lover so I may be a bit harsh in my judgement at the idea that these people would actually survive. I don’t know really because fortunately none of that has happened. But, what has happened is that I did not like even for a moment, any of these characters. Not a one! All of them are ridiculous and there isn’t any funny moments. Yes it’s apocalyptic but there has to be a class clown somewhere in there! Someone to lighten the very disheartening mood, maybe?

 In short: If you’re a horror/apocalyptic lover, this will bore you to tears. This out of your normal genre? Give it a try.

Full audio review over at

The AuthorEdan Lepucki is a graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her short fiction has been published in McSweeney’s, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Meridian, and FiveChapters, among other publications, and she is the winner of the 2009 James D. Phelan Award. She is a staff writer for The Millions and lives in Los Angeles, where she was born and raised.

She likes cooking, reading and filling out forms.

2 Responses to “Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki”

  1. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    Thanks for a very good and informative review! I’ve read a few brief reviews about this title, and basically they said they were disappointed in it but it was okay. I guess the problem is that it is not what is expected and that can be a bummer. The target audience is not the one picking it up if others are confused as to what it is about.
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…This, That & WhateverMy Profile

    • Christina

      I liked the first chapter… maybe? I was really sad too because I was so curious and excited. My hubby says that I had my expectations too high! I don’t know… I can’t even really recommend it sadly. Bummer!