Mini review: Gutter Child

Gutter Child by Jael Richardson

From Goodreads

Set in an imagined world in which the most vulnerable are forced to buy their freedom by working off their debt to society, Gutter Child uncovers a nation divided into the privileged Mainland and the policed Gutter. As part of a social experiment led by the Mainland government, Elimina Dubois is one of just one hundred babies taken from the Gutter and raised in the land of opportunity.

But when her Mainland mother dies, Elimina finds herself alone, a teenager forced into an unfamiliar life of servitude, unsure of who she is and where she belongs. Sent to an academy with new rules and expectations, Elimina befriends children who are making their own way through the Gutter System in whatever way they know how. But when her life takes yet another unexpected turn, Elimina will discover that what she needs more than anything may not be the freedom she longed for after all.

Gutter Child reveals one young woman’s journey through a fractured world of heartbreaking disadvantages and shocking injustices. As a modern heroine in an altered but all-too-recognizable reality, Elimina must find the strength within herself to forge her future in defiance of a system that tries to shape her destiny.

★★★★☆

This book was super interesting! I bought it on a whim and was super happy I did.

Overall, I thought this was super interesting and a really solid YA dystopian/sci-fi/speculative fiction. Elimina started as a fairly weak character tbh, but I liked her growth throughout the book. I liked the writing (for the most part; see below), and liked that it matured as Elimina did. This book is obviously a discussion on colonialism and segregation, and I think it had a lot of really interesting things to say. The ending was really good and intriguing, and I think this would be a great book club book.

I do have a couple critiques, one of which is a bit weird: there’s this really specific voice that authors sometimes use in younger YA fantasy-esque books, this like fake high society hoity-toity voice, especially for adults when they’re talking to kids or teenagers. You know the one, where adults are like “that’s a MARVELLOUS question darling, I’d be so happy to explain it to you.” It’s always grated on me, and this book did that quite a bit, especially at the beginning. Nearly every adult Elimina interacted with spoke to her in this voice, and it just got old. My other critique is that there was a lot of info dumping. There were several times in the book where Elimina and the other characters learned things by an adult monologuing at them. I know it’s the easiest way to get across information, but it happened a lot in this book, and it again got old.

Overall, however, I really recommend this, especially if you enjoy YA sci-fi/dystopian.

So those are my thoughts! Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know!

Ally xx


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