April 30, 2018

The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel is a literary fiction read that follows a cast of characters at Llamalo, a utopian summer camp out in the Rocky Mountains. Rebecca, a social-conscious college student, has been shipped off to be a counselor instead of getting to work on her family's paper. David, a seventeen year old nobody, has been coming to Llamalo for years, and hopes to move there permanently when he turns eighteen. Caleb, leader of the camp, is trying to maintain order and make everyone feel the same way he does about Llamalo and what it stands for. Don and Donnie, father and son duo and original owners of the land, are struggling with what their ranch has become and how to do something about it. 

This books is told through the points of view of all these characters. It takes place throughout the Eighties (as flashbacks) and Nineties (as present day) through the Reagan and Bush eras. The flashbacks take the reader back to times like when David and Rebecca were kids, and when Caleb first discovered Llamalo, helping the reader to understand why things are they way they are at present in the story. 

The Optimistic Decade was very atmospheric and character driven. Not a lot happens, but in this book that works well. I felt transported right into Llamalo, with its hot sun, gorgeous views, and minimalist lifestyle. I really loved both Rebecca and David as characters, and getting to see them each grow individually, as well as build their relationship with one another. I also loved a lot of the minor characters, including Suze and Georgia.

It covers a lot of challenging and thoughtful topics, including idealism, flawed leadership, and political activism. The characters in the story think a lot about whether or not their actions make a difference, and there are many eye opening moments for each of them. The writing was beautiful and the novel was well constructed. Overall I really enjoyed this novel, but I was left still wanting something more when it was all said and done.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Algonquin Books for sending me an advanced copy of this perfect summer read! The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel releases TOMORROW, May 1st, so be sure to pick up a copy!

10 comments:

Bookworms Corner said...

This was a really nice review.The book sounds interesting.

Kiss Like a Girl said...

This sounds like a lovely book, and that cover is gorgeous.

DJ Sakata said...

Having lived through those eras I'm curious about this one

Whispering Stories said...

I really like the sound of this book. I'll have to check it out. Great review

Allie Bock said...

Excellent review. The book sounds intriguing. I will have to keep it on my TBR.

Terri said...

I wonder how it will be reading about a time I lived through. Have to give this one a read.

Cia Black said...

Love the sound of this book

Anonymous said...

That cover is GORGEOUS. Adding to shelf!

Jenn Garey said...

Great review! This sounds like a really cute read. Also, that cover is amazing!

Katiria Rodriguez said...

Great review, I am really intrigued by this book but I don't think this is my kind of book but I'm glad you enjoy it. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.