In When North Becomes South by Becky Bronson, the world as we know it is disrupted when power grids and communication networks are destroyed by a solar flare. As if that isn't enough to make life impossible to live, the magnetic fields begin to shift and with radiation happening in many parts of the world, life becomes very difficult. Against this backdrop, a family is torn apart, navigating the increasingly changing environment and seeking answers for a future that is filled with uncertainty. Laurie is not sure if she will ever see her two sons again. Josh is having a wake-up call and is struggling to make peace with his past, but what is the path to getting back home? Meanwhile, Brendan is in a remote village in Africa and unsure about what happens next in his life.
This is a compelling novel with a premise that is irresistible. Readers are introduced to compelling, fully drawn, and believable characters forced by circumstances to deal with brutal change. The pathos enriches this story and readers can't help but follow the characters, hoping against hope that they might get to reconnect. The world-building is impeccably accomplished and Bronson builds on the elements of science while infusing the writing with humanity and realism. Each character is written into situations that are complex and that are real. The grimly and gorgeously written worldbuilding is lighted by sparks of hope and love. While the complex characters are extraordinary standouts, it will be the author's clever handling of resonant themes and deft plotting that make When North Becomes South a knockout.