Title: The Smallest Thing
Author: Lisa Manterfield
Genres: Young Adult
Release Day: July 18th 2017
ARC was kindly provided from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The very last thing 17-year-old Emmott Syddall wants is to turn out like her dad. She’s descended from ten generations who never left their dull English village, and there’s no way she’s going to waste a perfectly good life that way. She’s moving to London and she swears she is never coming back.

But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?

Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.

4 stars!

The fact that it was based on a true story added to the reading experience. When I first read the blurb, I immediately googled Eyam and indeed, reading about it and how they quarantined themselves as soon as people started dying… It was horrifying to read about. So going in, I was excited to read Emmott’s story.

Emmott was so easy to connect with even if at times she seemed too reckless in such a serious situation but her character developed tremendously and by the end, I felt for her and her family. This is a very character driven book, the outbreak is only part of what is going on in her life, during the events of the book, her mom and sister are out of town so that just leaves her and her dad to deal with the sudden quarantine.

Emmott is a small town girl who longs to go to London and leave her small town with the nosey neighbors behind. She’s making plans with her boyfriend when the first person dies. And then another. And then another. And soon, people start coming in wearing Hazmat suits and taking samples from their water supply and their gardens. That’s when she meets a volunteer and things get interesting. There’s a hint of insta love which in this case is completely acceptable. Emmott is literally living in a bubble, her dad is overbearing, her boyfriend is a whole other story and her mom is MIA. So naturally when someone new and interesting enters her bubble, she takes notice.

The story is going deep into her life, her relationships in general, her friends, her parents, every group of people and every relationship adds something to the story and her character, the way she interacts with everyone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not an illness book but more like, what happens in her life when the most unexpected happens. I especially liked her relationship with her father, it started as the usual relationship between a rebellious teenager with her father but I developed into something beyond that.

The only issue I had with it was the fact that the whole quarantine situation was never named, people were getting sick and dying, but no one could name the illness that took their life despite it being in modern times. I would have liked for it to go a bit deeper into it, but over all, this story touched so many subjects in a person’s life in such a small amount of pages, truly remarkable.


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