Just City by Olga
Tymofiyeva is a winner for fans of science fiction that addresses social issues
while featuring lovable characters on a mission. Twenty-one-year-old Nathan and
his friend, Jack, desperately need money to fund their startup which would address
the problem of missing shopping carts in supermarkets. Nathan's grandmother — a
professor of Neuroscience and Experimental Philosophy — offers the perfect
solution: pay the teens to test her new reality game called Just City. The game
is designed to get people into others' shoes. Determined to win the $10,000
prize to fund his startup, Nathan gives his all in the game, but the fun at the
beginning quickly cedes place to unnerving challenges. Nathan and his friends
begin to understand human nature and how our choices can change when we are
dealt different cards. As Nathan progresses in the game, he begins to question
his values and the concepts of justice and merit. Will he find his purpose at
the end of this struggle?
Olga Tymofiyeva writes like a pro, demonstrating a strong mastery of the first-person narrative voice that instantly arrests the attention of readers. The fluidity in prose and the clarity of phrase are among the strong elements of the writing. This voice, delivered in the present tense gives a sense of immediacy to the story and the events narrated in the book seem to unfold right in front of readers. Nathan's voice is irresistible and quirky and his outlook on life will have readers thinking and smiling. Readers find themselves helplessly investing in Tymofiyeva's characters and world-building. The science fiction elements are solid and the author identifies a real need that Nathan and his friend want to address with their startup. Apart from the compelling plot and the terrific characterization, the writing is infused with realism and humanity and the author puts characters in situations where they must make difficult choices. This novel is propelled forward by a very simple yet difficult question: What would you do if you were put in the shoes of someone else?