Review - The Diary of Pelly D by L. J. Adlington

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Comme Des Enfants by Coeur De Pirate.

The Diary of Pelly D
by L. J. Adlington
Published: March 29, 2005
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 288
Current Amazon Rank: #1,347,386
Author's Website:

First Line: When the dust settled, Tony V took his goggles off for a moment and rubbed his eyes.

My Take: The Diary of Pelly D is a story that sticks with you long after you finish reading it. Really, I keep coming back to this story even after I think I'm done with it. It is a futuristic dystopian in a far-distant galaxy where they have evolved from the original colonists and developed gills (it's not as weird as it sounds, I promise. In fact it is really cool, and an integral part to the story).

This book is visceral and engaging in a way that is difficult to explain. Tony V is a member of a cleanup crew that is clearing away the rubble from the aftermath of a great war. They aren't supposed to keep or take anything, but he cannot help himself when he finds an empty water bottle with a diary inside and a note that says "dig. dig everywhere."

Inside is the diary a Pelly D and it is through her eyes that the two stories start to stitch themselves together. Pelly D is rich, gorgeous, of the highest social rank in school or anywhere, and completely made of money--and she knows it. She is a brat, but her charismatic personality is strangely captivating. I usually do not take to these types of characters, but she managed to draw me in, because through her words you begin to see past the exterior of her world and glimpse something that strikes a deep chord. Ms. Adlington does an extraordinary job of leaving subtle details for the reader to pick up on. Many of the side characters are well developed, even if they are only mentioned by name.

I loved how Ms. Adlington took something completely foreign like us having gills, and made it not only believable but something that was a part of everyday life. It wasn't something that was just tacked on for a "cool sci-fi effect" just for the sake of being different. It became important to the plot, on many levels. Also, Pelly's voice was spot on authentic. I could hear her voice in my head. That is very cool when an author can do that.

My biggest complaint was that (in an attempt to be spoiler free) there was not the same attention to detail given to her life when things turned for her as when she is living the high life. But for that small detail, there is nothing I cannot wholeheartedly recommend about this absolutely incredible read.

The Last Word: I really don't know why this book isn't more well known. Stunning, visceral, and totally engaging, this is one dystopia you do not want to miss out on. Even if you don't think you like sci-fi, give it a try. You many be surprised.

These incredible illustrations are given by Mr. Illustrator because of a contest I won over at Charlotte's Book on the Hill. We have three left to go in this series!


brizmus said...

This sounds awesome - even after just having read your review, I was wondering the same thing is you - why haven't I seen this book anywhere else?

Heather Zundel said...

Brizmus - Yeah, and look what Amazon rank it is. My jaw literally dropped. I RARELY see a book that low. And it is so good!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Outstanding review! I'm convinced. :-)

Lauren said...

It really is good, isn't it? We don't learn quite as much as I'd like about how Pelly D's civilisation got to that planet, but I found the gills a really intriguing evolutionary trait. It kind of made me wish I needed to float in a pool for a few hours a day.

I love the fact that you've reviewed this. It definitely deserves more attention.

PJ Hoover said...

Yikes! I wonder why it isn't better known, too.

Heather Zundel said...

Shannon O'Donnell - Good. Great book.

Lauren - I'm so glad you've read it! I really would have liked to learn more about that as well, but it wouldn't have fit into her character because she isn't concerned with that. And I'm with you on mandatory pool soaking. :)

PJ - The amazon ranks do fluctuate by the hour, so it may have just been a REALLY bad hour, but I try and follow these for a while before posting, and I haven't see it rise above 200,000 ever.

Charlotte said...

I've read the follow up book, Cherry Heaven, and liked it lots--I've been meaning to read this first one for ages....some day!