Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of Yours for the Taking in exchange for an honest review.
By 2050, climate change has ravaged the world. The only hope is the Inside Project: enclosed, city-sized structures that promise to withstand the chaos outside. North America’s Inside is directed by none other than Jacqueline Millender, a reclusive billionaire and women’s rights activist. When Ava wins a spot, she knows she must take it, even if it means leaving her girlfriend behind.
Meanwhile, Shelby, a working-class business major, gains safety when she becomes Jacqueline’s personal assistant, immersing herself in the world of corporate feminism. And as newly appointed head of Inside’s medical department, Olympia knows she’s taking on a monumental task, especially for someone fresh out of med school.
As Jacqueline’s true ambitions become clear and cracks appear in her system, the three women realize a darker agenda may be at play. Just what is Jacqueline willing to sacrifice to keep her dream alive?
Yours for the Taking is a foray into climate-change fiction that feels almost too plausible. Beginning only 30 years in the future, Gabrielle Korn’s debut novel isn’t that far-fetched. Korn isn’t afraid to take on big questions, either. She addresses issues surrounding gender equality, the question of what humans need to live fulfilling lives and what type of society we should build for future generations.
However, like a lot of books that try to tackle big ideas, Yours for the Taking doesn’t quite go deep enough. While the characters discuss questions of gender equality in depth, they only briefly mention others. When it’s revealed early on that Jacqueline Millender’s Inside will only accept women, there isn’t much opposition — this is, after all, the novel’s central conceit.
But no one really addresses the type of women accepted: largely educated, cis and white. Characters mention problems around race and sexuality Inside but don’t delve into what that could mean for society’s future. Despite how these women talk about the need for nuance, there just isn’t much present.
The depictions of radical white feminism almost make this seem like a satire, but I’m not sure it’s supposed to be one. Yours for the Taking is a sci-fi dystopia with a girlboss twist, in which a rich, white feminist makes it to the top, and attempts to eliminate both climate disaster and the patriarchy in one fell swoop. Reading Jacqueline as a satirical character is fun but might not be what Korn intended.
I did truly enjoy the other point-of-view characters, however. Each woman struggled with her place in the world over a 20-year span. They try their best to make the most of the new world they find themselves in despite their different backgrounds and current experiences. I love the way their stories intersected and eventually wove together.
Read Yours for the Taking as a satire on the white feminist girlboss, and you’ll have a great time. Just don’t expect anyone to dig deeper into the questions of intersectionality they raise or think too hard about the science of it all.
Yours for the Taking comes out on December 5, 2023, and is available for preorder from your local independent bookstore or Bookshop.org.
TW: ableism, cancer, child abuse, classism, climate disaster, confinement, death, drug abuse, forced institutionalization, gaslighting, grief, medical trauma/abuse, misogyny, pregnancy, racism, suicide/suicidal thoughts, transphobia
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