And Now an Endorsement: Dark & Day by Israel Gray

I’m realizing more and more that young adult fiction is a comfortable thing for me. The first fiction book I ever read for fun was for young adults. If you’re wondering, it was that ridiculously beloved series from J.K. Rowling. A few months ago, I was sent a copy of Dark & Day by Israel Gray and after stalling in it a few times because of my workload I finished it this week.

I found Dark and Day to be a pretty good book. You’re following Jono, a young boy who lives in Polari and is exactly the healthiest of guys. He has a normal family, but it’s clear he doesn’t feel that he measures up. He’s even more worried about what’ll happen when he joins The Dark’s military academy.

Dark and Day is a book that plays on your sensibilities. And writer Gray isn’t subtle about it. In between envisioning what it was like to visit the military academy I played around with the book’s themes in my head. Jono is forced by weak health to choose between serving in the military and getting the upgrades he needs or staying home and struggling with them for the rest of his life. At a sanctuary another character mentions in passing that how good can a government be if they require the sick to sacrifice they’re life to get what they need. I’m paraphrasing, but I’ll always remember that line.

Pacing, felt off in this book, particularly before arriving at the military academy. While some characters felt fleshed out and life-like, I was left wondering about motivation and a lack of character development. I’m hoping that Jono has a clearer progression from normal pre-teen to hero in the next book. I felt like that should have happened before this book’s finale, but Gray is planning a series and I can understand why I’d be left wanting more.

Dark and Day is worth every bit of $2.99, I know because even though I was sent a copy I purchased another halfway through so I could keep it in my Kindle library. It’s a great book that filled my need for twists and coming of age stories. If you share that same need, it can fill it for you too. Even now I’m still wondering which side is right, the Dark or the Day.