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Book Review: The 716

Genre: YA SciFi Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rep: LGBTQIA+

Every now and then an indie author reaches out to see if I would be willing to read and review their book, and I absolutely love these interactions! Connecting with indie authors is one of my favorite parts of being a book reviewer, and it was no different when S.J. Pratt reached out to see if I would read her book, The 716. I have to say, this is one of the most memorable and underrated scifi books I’ve ever read!

The 716 is a futuristic novel that completely obliterates gender stereotypes. Olivia and Andy couldn’t be more different. Olivia was raised to eventually take her mother’s place as the leader of their society, while Andy is told he will never be more than a house-husband. However, Olivia and Andy have more in common than they think; they both want to be an engineer. While Olivia is told her dream is beneath her social status, Andy is told that his head is in the clouds, wanting to do a woman’s job.

I could go on an on about this book for days, but my favorite part of the book was the way it incorporated feminism and highlighted the obstacles women face in our own society by attributing them to men in the novel. The small details were perfect, such as vehicles being referred to as “he” instead of “she” and “resting b@stard face,” which will forever change my usage of the phrase it was created from. These details showed how closely Pratt thought this novel through, and made it feel even more authentic.

Additionally, the bigger details of the novel were wonderful as well! For instance, in Olivia and Andy’s society, nursing and teaching are considered prestigious careers that women should aspire to. Pratt makes a huge statement suggesting that teaching and nursing should be viewed as more valuable than they are in our society. Similarly, the way she suggests that only women could do these jobs in the novel, brings up the absurdity of associating certain jobs with certain genders in real life.

Another detail that I truly appreciated was Olivia’s brother, Will’s, outrage that men are not included in medical trials in the novel. I think it is shocking when people find out that many medical trials in reality do not include women, which ultimately kills women. Will in general was a great character, and I really related to his perspective and desire to fight for change.

Furthermore, Pratt tackles sexism head-on with her characters in The 716. Multiple times in the novel Olivia is forced to confront her sexist views. I absolutely loved that she made the mistake of acting sexist towards Andy, because this mirrors the way that people are sexist in real life. Even better though, was the fact that Olivia took the time to reflect on her behavior and realize her wrongdoings.

Finally, I enjoyed the fact that Pratt included people with various gender identities. While the focus at the beginning of the novel is on the unfair and unequal treatment of men, she further develops this theme to include trans, nonbinary, gender fluid, and people across the gender spectrum. It was not only heartening that she included everyone, but also that Andy discovered new gender identities along his journey towards equality.

Honestly, I feel like my review doesn’t even begin to convey how wonderful this book truly is. On top of all the major issues it brings to light, it also has fun characters, a complex world, and a solid plot. I especially think fans of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer will love this book, but truthfully I think pretty much anyone and everyone that enjoys scifi or YA will absolutely adore it!

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