In an alternative history novel, Elizabeth Fama has introduced a world where America has been split between day and night, Rays and Smudges. Rays rise and sleep with the sun, never to see starlight. Smudges rise with the moon and, after taking their vitamin D and melatonin supplement, fall asleep before day begins. Work, play, errands, school… all must be completed in the “waking window” you have. Instated to increase productivity when a pandemic swept through the country, citizens are rarely transferred from Day to Night (even less likely to move Night to Day) and there are separate governments for each.
Sol is trapped in the night, never having known sunshine, dragging herself to school and then to a repetitive job at a packaging factory until she can return home to her dying grandfather. Her brother was arrested and inexplicably transferred to Day years ago and has ignored his family since, without a even a visit on Unity Night. Having just gained a Ray niece, Sol believes that holding his new granddaughter would bring comfort and maybe even a smile to her grandfather’s face. But how can she break curfew and get into the hospital? (Not to mention kidnap and return a baby before anyone notices.)
Would you choose Smudge or Ray? To never sunbathe or to never see the wonder of the Milky Way?
Fama creates a believable and dangerous world full of lively characters and precarious plots. I enjoyed this book very much from the very first sentence.
“It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine.”