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In CURRENTS, the country has been divided into two main sections after a great flood. On the one side we have the Dry, the privileged that are rich or influential enough to reside in safe, dry territory. On the other side we have the Wet, the working class that can only afford living in the more dangerous parts of the country.
Underwhelming Language and Concepts
However, I couldn't really empathize with Nina because she's so oblivious to what happened during the Great Flood. I get that it's essential to the story that she slowly learns what happens. It's a typical feature in dystopian YA to have the protagonists slowly realize the truth, but in CURRENTS it just wasn't done well. I didn't, for one second think that there were dry lands that the Dry people managed to populate in. It's quite obvious instantly after we learn that Nina's the governor's daughter that the Dry's territory is only inhabited by rich and privleged people. Combined with Max' POV that shows the ugly side, what the Wet are going through, there is absolutely no tension. Nothing really gripped me and had me wanting to continue, the novel sort of just dabbles along.
The story is inspired by an obviously very real problem in the Netherlands, if you're not dutch it's probably very hard to understand the concept of the story. Water is simultaneous with death in the story; I'm actually quite sad that Moraal didn't decide to include a map of the territories. It's very hard to imagine those sections when you're not familiar with the dutch landscape.
A Future That Isn't Futuristic
When establishing a dystopian future, you have to state what has happened, what everything looks like and what the poeple are going through. In CURRENTS, Moraal leaves the impressions oft he landscape completely out and just gives us the information that the country has been flooded. I would have wished for more world building, what changed in society after the flood, what new inventions there are, what things were left behind and all. We have the digital HCs, which are just a variation of an iPad, but that's it. The story is supposed to be set in the future - I want to see the future and have more detail in the descriptions.
Another main issue I had with the novel is the physical form. The copy that I was provided with had blue dyed pages to match the cover. In theory that's a very nice effect, if you're only interested in the visual aspect. Because the pages are dyed, they stuck to each other in the corners, so every time you turn a page you have to physically pull them from each other, which is absolutely annoying. I don't understand why the novel was printed with blue pages in the first place, I haven't seen that anywhere else before.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
I especially recommend this if you're looking to learn a new language or wanting to practice. The German translation that I read is very easy to understand, while not seeming like middle grade literature.
I generally felt underwhelmed and for me easy, fluffy language and a cute side romance isn't necessarily what I'm looking for in YA, especially not in the dystopian genre. It's an okay read, but not more than that.
"This dramatic love story is set after the Great Flood when the country is divided between the safe, dry areas and those vulnerable to further flooding. The country s population is similarly divided, with the Dry forming the wealthy elite, and the Wet the working class scratching a living in order to survive. A resistance movement arises from the Wet. Nina is a Dry, the daughter of the Governor. In the last flood, her school was inundated and her sister drowned, and she is now forced to go to another school in the Wet area, under a false name. There she meets Max, a Wet, and they become partners for a school project. At first suspicious, they soon become fascinated by each other's worlds and start to become friends. Yet, their situation is complex- Max's father died during the last flood, and the Governor played a questionable role in this, and Max's brother is a member of the violent resistance movement. What will happen when Max finds out who Nina really is?"