Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe
My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: LGBT, Fantasy
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Synopsis: A modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz!
Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.
When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…
All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.
Looks like Dorothy is going to be walking down the yellow brick road with her well-loved companions again. Oh, wait, it’s actually Zippy who is going to be walking down the yellow brick road with her companions in a world that had just experienced the “rapture”. And, uh, the yellow brick road she’s walking down is cluttered with abandoned cars and… dinosaurs? DUN DUN DUN!
Over the Rainbow has a heck of an oddball story. It’s weird, trippy, and really unbelievable. But hey, Over the Rainbow is a super-fun romp that I enjoyed reading. Oh, and Jurassic Park fans: you just might get a kick out of this book. All those dinosaurs stomping about were awesome and totally appealed me, a lover of the movie. Over the Rainbow actually brought back a lot of memories of when I was a little kid going to my grandparents’ house and watching that dino-tastic (I did just say that) movie over and over.
Besides the dinosaurs, I also liked Zippy, our tiny, fun-sized, protagonist too, and not just because she shares my love of Jurassic Park. She’s brave, strong-willed, comfortable in her own skin, and fit the role she played quite well. And to be honest, it’s really hard to not be impressed by the girl when she faced and killed a dinosaur with only an ax in hand. Her doing that was one of my favorite scenes in the book, actually.
Zippy’s companions, while they weren’t exactly memorable, were fun. Frankie, Mr. Balm, and Elle complimented each other and had good chemistry. I think that these characters could have had a little bit more work done on them, but they satisfied the roles they were meant to be in. Zippy’s father, however, was a pretty well-made character. In the beginning, he is only portrayed as a bigot who cares more about his job than Zippy, but over the course of the story, you learn that he does care for his daughter but his prejudiced opinions keep him from showing that.
What really gets in the way of Over the Rainbow‘s being a great book is that it was published too soon. I think that some more editing could have been done. The characters seemed to underreact to their situation at times. Sometimes the dialogue was choppy. The emotional scenes could have been polished up some more. And the new, post-rapture world could have been painted more vividly. I honestly believe that Over the Rainbow could have been an amazing book, but the lack of editing got in the way of being that amazing book.
But even though this book has its fair share of flaws, I did enjoy reading it. Over the Rainbow is a weird, fun romp that I didn’t mind spending the evening reading at all. AND THE DINOSAURS! I LOVED THEM SO MUCH!