When the births of baby girls cease, the world is thrown into chaos. The few girls that are born are taken into custody, held in a secure location until their 21st birthday before being reunited with their parents in an area free from the plague that caused the problem.
Or so Zoey is told. Suspecting the women are being lied to, Zoey realises she can’t follow the rules any longer. She is going to escape the NOA, no matter what.
But escaping is dangerous and Zoey doesn’t know what to do in the real world. Is it worth the risk?
Author: Joe Hart
Title: The Last Girl
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
The Last Girl was an interesting premise and for the most part, I felt it was done well. There were, however, a few characterisation issues that stopped me from enjoying it as much as I could have done.
The plot centres around truth: the power of those in position of authority and how they control the thoughts of the women they hold. Literature, music, freedom, is forbidden, but the girls know no different. Once Zoey starts doubting the system, the idea of escape is the only option left to her.
It was Zoey’s character I had problems with. For the first half of the book, when she is in the NOA, her defiance and refusal to believe lies made her strong.
Once she is in the real world though, it became implausible. Zoey has absolutely no qualms about killing, and does so several times without regret. While she had reasons, her lack of remorse meant I could no longer empathise with her character.
Zoey is injured, feverish and goes days without proper sustenance or water. But somehow not only survives, but keeps moving. Again, this didn’t ring true for me; Zoey is just a girl, not Supergirl! The disbelief at her survival detached me from the book and I couldn’t absorb myself again.
Without spoiling anything, I also wished the ending was different. It would have been more realistic if she had a more permanent reaction to everything rather than another problem being solved – that isn’t how the real world works!
The secondary characters all felt properly developed, even if Zoey doesn’t know them well. I wanted to see more of Lee and their relationship, but Ian was an excellent father-figure for Zoey and the women the friends that she needs to survive.
The final confrontations were well-written and tense. As being a good guy doesn’t mean you’ll survive, I held my breath through the final few chapters, wondering who would make it.
An action-packed novel full of determination, sacrifice and the pursuit of truth, The Last Girl was original with an intriguing plot. If the characters didn’t miraculously survive impossible odds – physically and emotionally – it would have been a brilliant read. That being said, I still enjoyed Joe Hart’s writing.