Book Review: Salvage

By: Alexandra Duncan
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: April 1, 2014
Genre: YA dystopian
520 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

Salvage is one of the most empowering YA dystopians that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a while. The main character, a girl named Ava, is born into a society that demands that women accept that their place in society is to bear babies and follow the directives of their men. Through a series of unusual events, Ava learns that not everyone lives the way she and her family have, and that women in other cultures have more control over their own destinies.

Ava lives on the Parastrata, a space ship traveling in our sun’s solar system.  She is the daughter of the ship’s captain, and his “so girl”: the female in charge of the other young girls. She has many duties and responsibilities in this capacity, and proudly does her part to keep things in order aboard her ship.

Ava learns that she is to be a bride, and her world is soon turned upside down. The men arrange the marriages in her society, and the men often take multiple wives. Ava will be given over to another family as part of their trade agreement. Due to a misunderstanding, Ava lands herself in some serious trouble, and is cast out of her society.

It is once she is cast out that Ava learns just how much potential she has. She learns that she is far stronger, smarter, and capable than she ever thought possible. In the face of adversity, Ava becomes what her society fears. She is self-sufficient and self-aware, able to form her own opinions and make her own choices, able to protect instead of being protected.

My one complaint with this book is that there is such a vast amount going on plot-wise in this single volume that at times the story seems to jerk from scene to scene; if the author took time to write seamless time transitions, this already lengthy book would become unmanageable. This is one of the few books I’ve read that I wish was broken into two or three parts- not because I wanted to know what else happens, but because I wanted to know more about what was already there. Beyond this one issue, the writing is lovely, the world-building is creative and interesting, and the characters are people you wish you could know in real life. These are the makings of YA greatness.

This book has been touted as a good suggestion for fans of Across the Universe and the Handmaid’s Tale. I think it’s also a good fit for fans of Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series, one of my favorites. This is a great choice for most readers, but especially for teen girls.    


Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.


  1. OOh nice review! I love this cover and was starting to get curious about it the more I see it around the blogosphere. Definitely sounds like an intriguing read! Very nice review!

  2. Looks like an awesome read! I will definitely keep an eye out for this book! Thanks for the great review!

    Nora @ The Bookery

  3. Glad you enjoyed this one! I love the cover. :)

  4. Thanks for the kind words, everyone. :)


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