A Bitter Spring (2012)
“It’s like carrying around a backpack. It’s heavy and it’s on your shoulders. It hurts. It weighs you down.”
The world has just come down around Mae. Her father unexpectedly died, and her despondent mother has no other choice but to take Mae and her two sisters to live with their loving but unprepared grandparents. But while her sisters quickly adjust to the changes of a new house, new school, and new life, Mae finds herself numb and indifferent. The school bullies still harass her for her weight. Her sisters are still beautiful and popular. Her mother settles back into a routine of frivolity. For her, the scenery has changed but not the situation.
When shadows from her family’s past resurface, Mae finds comfort in only two things. One, a purple composition book that becomes her emotional and creative outlet under the encouragement of her grandfather and guidance counselor. And two, her friendship with Dawn — a girl her own age with a gentle wisdom Mae has yet to understand.
A Bitter Spring is a novel about grief, abandonment, and the trauma of being a 15-year-old girl suffering through both. But also, it is about forgiveness, and the painful steps one takes in getting there.
Man versus machine. Anarchy versus order. Power versus love.
Centuries of war have ravaged the world. Those left are sheltered under domed cities — like the decrepit city of Kennedy — but they’re not really protected. Class warfare wages. The lower classes are kept down by the upper class that strives to eventually replace them with easily-controlled artificial intelligence. The man who created this AI is Jerrid Fieger, the most powerful man in Kennedy.
Citizens by day and terrorists by night, the Project is the only force fighting against this takeover. Ayaku was once the principal dancer for the city ballet; Riley, an acrobat for the circus. Flake and Copse were computer programmers. They and the rest of the Project want the man who created synthetic robots to suffer for their losses. But an intense drug called called Clout hinders their revenge on him — a drug so addictive, it causes them to continue using it long after their skin has turned green, and their insides have begun to turn to mush.
West is different, however. He doesn’t fight for a lost career. He fights for the woman he loves.