Book Review: “The Diary of Pelly D” by L.J. Adlington

Toni V is just another teen on the demolition crew, working his jackhammer. Day after day he tears up the ruins of City 5 to make way for the new city the general promises.

The rules and regulations say that everything that is found has to be reported. But when Toni V finds a water can with a diary inside, he defies the rules and regulations. He keeps and reads it: The Diary of Pelly D.

Pelly D lives in luxury in City 5. She’s rich, she’s pretty, and she leads the pack at school. Oh–and she has a holographic pool, which is pretty cool.

Pelly D is completely unconcerned about school work or about politics, or really about anything but her own pleasure and popularity–well, except for the little niggling doubts she has about the new gene stamping.

It’s an Atsumisi thing, this “Heritage Clan” thing. According to them, the world is divided into three groups: the haves and the have nots. The haves (Atsumisi and Mazzini) have the gene (even if it’s only turned “on” in the Atsumisi)–the have nots (the Galrezi) don’t.

It starts out innocently, people getting tattoos on their wrists to identify which gene clan they come from. But before long, Pelly D wonders if there might be discrimination on the planet (despite the colonials resolve to not even have a word for discrimination since they were so determined not to let any exist on their new planet.)

I’m not sure what to say about this book. The diary reads a little like Bridget Jones’ Diary (in other words, it’s awful). Reading Pelly D’s self-absorbed rants is painful. It’s a mercy that the author flashes back to Toni V every so often–he’s a breath of fresh air from the drama queen Pelly D.

At the same time, there’s something compelling about this novel. I can see how young adults might enjoy it. And–as far as young adult novels go, it’s relatively clean. There’s some allusions to making out and one not too descriptive sex scene. There’s a divorce that takes second stage to the real storyline. There’s some bullying, some definite rudeness. But it’s not like it’s celebrating deviant behavior.

And the ending. Oh, the ending.

I had to verbally process the entire plot with my little sister after I was done. It was that disturbing.

It was a good disturbing.

The kind that makes you think. The kind that makes you recall history, real events on Earth that resemble the events in the book. The kind that makes you question political correctness and what the world calls peace. The kind that makes you wonder how the evil in the heart of man can be eliminated.

The Diary of Pelly D is bad in that the diary itself is just the sort of thing you’d expect from a self-absorbed queen-of-the-brat-pack teen. The Diary of Pelly D is good in that the story sucks you in and gets you thinking (without you knowing that you’re thinking until you get to the awful, awful end.) It’s good in that the ideas it brings up stick with you, forcing you to grapple with reality.

I’m glad I read it. I’m not quite sure if I recommend it.

Rating:1 Star/5 Stars
Category:YA Dystopian Fiction
Synopsis:Toni V, a postapocalyptic teen, finds the diary of Pelly D–written before the war that ended the world as she knew it.
Recommendation: Decide for yourself. You can see how I had an awfully hard time even giving it stars–the one star is for the painfully insipid Pelly D’s diary writings, the five stars is for the completed effect of the novel.

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