Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Over the Rainbow

Title: Over the Rainbow
Author: Brian Rowe
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: August 6th 201
Source: Netgalley/Brian Rowe


Four stars.

Much to the dismay of her extremely religious Midwestern politician father, Zippy is a lesbian. She becomes attached to a girl named Mira through an AOL Movies forum, and though they hadn't yet met, Mira becomes a major part of Zippy's life- that is, until her father finds the messages and tries to force Zippy to go to a straight camp. At the airport, she makes a daring escape in a huge suitcase, and is put into the cargo bit of a plane headed towards Seattle, towards Mira. But when the plane crashes, she finds that people are missing. A LOT of people. This LGBT retelling of the Wizard of Oz finds the red converse wearing Zippy, a fearful little girl, a concussion-having teenager, a man with a heart-condition, and a cute little dog too, to figure out what happened in The Rapture, survive the Jurassic Park-esque post-Rapture Earth, avoid a wicked, scorned, homophobic father and find the loved ones "left below".


This book was weird. Bizarre. Utterly insane. And yet, I adored it far more than I had anticipated. There's a madness to this book that reflects both Oz and Wonderland, where things become so bat-shit crazy that it almost seems logical. And also, dinosaurs.

First, I loved both the protagonist and her love, Zippy and Mira. Zippy is strong, independent and kicks some serious butt. Nothing dissuades her from her goal of finding Mira: not dinosaurs, not car accidents, not a crazy father. She stays true to herself. Part of why I am so fond of this couple is because I am part of this couple. I met my girlfriend, Emily, on the internet. Though, we used Hotmail to chat and not AOL, before Outlook was rolled out and ruined everything, but I digress. We didn't meet for roughly two years after we "met", a similar time frame to Mira and Z. And my parents didn't know that I was LGBT until I had already met Emily in real life, when I finally chose to come out. Thankfully, neither of my parents, however, sent me to a straight camp (and like Z, they would have had a hell of a time actually getting there). And I know that if we were both left below, dinosaurs wouldn't deter us either. End mushy ramble.

I also really enjoyed her family characters. Even though they were largely unpleasant, I felt that they were well written and believable (yes, I am using that word in a book about the dinopocalypse). However, I didn't really ever feel connected to Frankie or Lyman, though Elle was adorable. They served their functions in turn, but I wasn't overly hoping for their success.

Now to the Wizard of Oz bit- I very much was amused by the parallels. Red Converse on her feet, Kansas, the people she travels with, her wicked father who didn't defy gravity in the rapture (I see what you did there, Mr. Rowe!). Like a child, I found myself often pointing and going "HA!", because I understood the reference. Then there's the names: Frankie, Elle, Mr. Lyman Balm, Judy. How fitting.

The fact that this is in the 90s made me happy. It flips between the late and early 90s, and it made me have flashbacks to when AOL chat rooms were a thing, and I pretended to be older to get into teen chats talked responsibly with new people on the amazing internet. Initially, I had an issue that technology still worked despite 70% of the population disappearing. But then I remembered how you couldn't stop AOL or those big clunky computers for anything, unless you picked up the telephone (in which case you screamed at your mother to hang up even though your 18 hour download of one Hanson song is ruined and you have to start over). I also liked the references to things like Buffy. She would have been proud of Z, I think. Willow too.

Now for the part everyone cares about: The dinosaurs and other extinct animals that pop up onto the earth after the rapture. I happen to find this twist fabulous. You see, I have a theory (keeping in mind that I believe in evolution. This is a fiction book. Bear with me.) In the beginning God created dinosaurs and saber toothed cats and bugs the size of chairs, and life was terrifying. He looked to the earth with a smirk and said "Soon." He then grabbed all his scary animal friends and kept them hidden off earth until the second coming, then he set them free with a maniacal laugh on those who didn't get saved. Is this theory what the author intended? Probably not. But that's my take away from this story and I'm sticking to it. So there.

The ending was a happily ever after, but for me it was a bit too happy. It kind of was off set from the tone of the rest of the book. There is a rapture fact about staying away from windows that I wish would have been expanded on. I would have liked more story time with both Z's family and the side characters. Those are my only real flaws with the book.

Be warned, this book is suitable for people only with great imaginations. If you will be offended by lesbians, swearing, or dinosaurs in your second-coming, then step back from this one. But, if strange worlds like Wonderland or Oz fascinate you, I'd give this a try. This is one of the best LGBT books I've read this year, but brace yourself for acid-tripping weird feelings.

Thank you Netgalley and author Brian Rowe for my copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Awwwwww you mushy ramblings <3 And I'm getting flashbacks just from this review, I love it. I'm so excited for this book, I really can't wait to get my hands on it!

    1. I think you'll appreciate it more than I do. Being older than me and weirder and all. ;)

    2. Oh hush you or I'll let the dinos get you.

    3. I've seen Jurassic Park, I can handle the dinos xD

  2. Kind of excited by how quirky this book sounds. Great review, and you've intrigued enough that I'm going to put this book on my TBR list. :)

    1. It seems people either love the quirk or hate it. I hope you like it as much as I did!

  3. First off, cue the "awwwwwws"! How long have you been together?

    Secondly, this book sounds CRAZY and FANTASTIC!! Also this "believable (yes, I am using that word in a book about the dinopocalypse)." hahahahahhaha.

    I seriously loved this review!

    1. We've been together just over three years. I actually got a chance to stay with her for a little over a month this summer, and it was amazing.

      And thank you SO MUCH! This book was so quirky and weird but for reasons I'm not entirely sure of I ate it up!

    2. I'm pretty impressed so much of your relationship as been long's incredibly hard to do. My boyfriend and I have been dating...jesus christ we're coming up on 5 years, but the past year has been long distance because of grad school (as will this year). It was tough going from seeing each other every day for four years to a total of 12 days this past year haha. I can't even imagine having to deal with the distance from the start! It's pretty killer.

    3. It's definitely challenging. Where I am for college, I'm about a 9 hour train ride away from her. It's pretty brutal. But in a way it's better, because when I do get to see her it's extra exciting. I think last year I was at her house for Thanksgiving, New Years, and 4th of July. Congrats on the five years- I take it you guys are from the same area initially?

    4. We went to undergrad together, so we basically lived together for 4 years haha! We did a lot of things backwards though, and while it's worked out in most ways it's going to make some things challenging. He's Korean and I'm well...not. I was pretty determined not to date and when I finally caved, I never expected us to last this long. Sooo we never really dealt with his family...which is totally going to come back and bite us in the ass now *groans*

      Are those the only times you got to see her? That's even less than what I got!