Thank you to Jake Burt for providing #BookAllies with the ARC of Cleo Porter and the Body Electric! I was sharing with our group how I SO wish this was publishing earlier than October because it is THAT good and the parallels to the current epidemic is so surreal.
A woman is dying. Cleo Porter has her medicine. And no way to deliver it.
Like everyone else, twelve-year-old Cleo and her parents are sealed in an apartment without windows or doors. They never leave. They never get visitors. Their food is dropped off by drones. So they’re safe. Safe from the disease that nearly wiped humans from the earth. Safe from everything. The trade-off?
They’re alone. Thus, when they receive a package clearly meant for someone else–a package containing
a substance critical for a stranger’s survival–Cleo is stuck. As a surgeon-in-training, she knows the clock is ticking. But people don’t leave their units.
Not ever. Until now.
If you need a book that you won’t be able to resist to put down… This one is for you! I was enthralled by this prescient middle grade book as soon as I read the first page. Let alone, the cover is captivating itself.
Even though this is set many decades ahead of present time, you can see how realistic the living situation could be if indeed a virus wiped out a majority of the population. I liked that Cleo’s apartment wasn’t completely “tech-ified” but incorporated many elements that would deem futuristic, like distance learning with Mrs. VAIN, her robotic and all-knowing teacher. Mrs. VAIN is the perfect teacher because of how kind, compassionate, and reassuring she is for Cleo. Cleo has many mental breakdowns and Mrs. VAIN was typically there to help her strategize and calm down. Another futuristic aspect I thought was neat was the simulator. Cleo’s dad tries to make a dry grass for a fall-based soccer field and Cleo gets to test it out in the simulator. In this simulator, she can travel anywhere she wants and even meets up with “friends” aka other quarantined kids.
What really kept me on the edge is the mayhem that occurs when Cleo escapes her apartment (I won’t share too much). There are drones that fly everywhere to deliver groceries, home goods, medicine, and more, but the elements that Cleo faces made me so nervous for her. It was wonderful to learn more about her as a person when she was trying to complete this dangerous journey, and how the end of the book just riled me up. I wasn’t expecting to cry, but I sure did. This book needed to be published like yesterday, BUT October 6th will have to do!
About the Author
Jake Burt is an author of middle grade fiction and a 5th grade teacher. He lives in Connecticut, plays the banjo, and enjoys ultimate frisbee. He has yet to meet a rabbit hole he won’t go down. He has written a few other middle grade books like Greetings from Witness Protection!, The Right Hook of Devin Velma, and The Tornado. You can learn more about him and his books at http://www.jburtbooks.com/
I mean… What are the odds that Jake Burt would sort of tell the future by writing about a pandemic before a real in-life pandemic occurred? Do you think more authors will dabble into this kind of storytelling now that we are living through one? What are your thoughts? Share with me below!