Blurb Book Review: City of Orange by David Yoon (spoilers ahead)

Cover image from

This book left me thinking about loneliness, being alone, and survival.

Adam wakes up in some sand surrounded by cement, with a head injury and no idea who he is, where he is, or what’s happened to civilization. He finds a strange key in his shoe and a bottle of pain relievers in his pocket.

Assuming the world has ended somehow and that he’d been attacked by someone, he begins to figure out how to survive until he can remember things. He finds a few tools in the flotsam of the dried up river and a faucet with running water. After a short time he also finds someone’s shelter under a bridge. Inside the shelter is a camping stove, matches, and some canned food.

Anything that brings memory back is pushed away. Can labels are removed and he pulls himself out of memory as quickly as possible. He knows that whatever is lurking in his head is bad and he’s just not ready to face it yet.

While surviving, he encounters a young boy, Clay, who becomes a sort of friend while Adam tries to navigate this new world.

What got me was how Adam was alone and nobody seemed to be looking for him. He had no phone and no thoughts of one, except that they were things people had Before. Before what? The reader isn’t told until near the end.

Everything is explained, slowly, in little bits, in a way that satisfied my curiosity.

This novel made me think of our online world and how if we simply stop posting something, we just disappear. If we have no contacts in real life, our disappearance is barely noted. Some may wonder where we are or what happened, but our attention is quickly taken away by some other tidbit of information swirling around us.

It also made me think of how alone we are even when surrounded by people. Sometimes an event will shatter our world and even though we’re reeling, others are carrying on with the mundanity of life.

Excellent book, highly recommend it.

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