Elena is a teacher at one of the most prestigious schools in America. Her daughters are just like her: ambitious, smart, beautiful and perfect.
Elena is happily married to Malcolm, who is the man that is in charge in the new tier system in the country. Every month, everyone has to undergo a number of tests to determine their Q. The “Q” is a quotient that is based on every metric: genetics, IQ, social status, past history, etc. Depending on the Q number, people are split into three different tiers:
The top tier, prestigious schools, money and social status. Always first in line for everything. Privileged. The best. Perfect. The (only) humans that America wants.
The middle tier. Not the best, could be better. If they improve their scores, they could upgrade to silver again, but most statistics show that you can only go down from here.
The bottom tier. People that hop on the yellow bus are taken to the state schools, and there are rumours about the kind of places they are taken to. These people are last in line for everything.
As usual, justice boils down to how high you can keep your Q rating.
When one of Elena’s daughters fails the tests and is sent with the yellow bus, Elena makes the choice of failing the test herself on purpose, only to join her daughter. The things she is about to see and experience are worse than you could ever imagine!
Q is one of those books that is based in a fictional world, but it certainly makes you see the similarities with today’s society. It dives into a dystopian world that might as well be a future one for us, if we don’t acknowledge the fact how our society works today.
The story is told from Elena’s point of view, both in the present time and the past. As we move through the book we get to know Elena better as a mother, as a wife and as a person. I loved the fact that we were slowly finding out facts about her, sometimes as she did as well. Along that, we also get to see how her choices in the past played a huge impact into her present.
Choices don’t matter when they’ve already been made.
But I think what matters in this book is the consequences of all these people making choices, especially Elena. And sometimes, it may be too late to fix something that has gone out of control.
Elena’s perspective as a mother was very emotional in every single way. Even though I wasn’t a mother, I could still feel what Elena was feeling. I loved the fact she cared so much about Freddie, that she chose to fail her tests and get moved to the state school too. However, I also feel that she somehow left Anne out of the picture. It was as if Elena and Freddie were one team, while Anna and Malcolm were another, even before Freddie failed her test.
On the other side, we had Malcolm.
The husband, the father and also the man in charge of the tier system. A very cold human, with no remorse, no empathy, very arrogant and extremely manipulative. Watching Elena’s relationship with him reveal and uncover scenes from the past was an interesting concept I enjoyed about this book. We also had a small opportunity to find about how the two daughters felt as well. Children are able to feel something is wrong with their parents or their lives. They have their own opinions as well, that define the actions they might made. This was beautifully shown in a few scenes in the book.
It is definitely important to mention Elena’s parents and grandmother. Oma is a queen and I loved her! She made me crack up and made me cry. She made me miss my grandma a lot! Here’s to all Omas!
Christina’s writing is really admirable. She managed to tell us all the facts about life that we already know in another light. This Is something I really admired throughout the book, and here is a paragraph I really enjoyed:
Any child knows time slows down in the days before Christmas; any bride knows time speeds up during a wedding reception. And any mother knows time flies in the years after she gives birth.
It was very interesting to read a book that takes on society tiers in such an extreme way. We may not be aware, but this is happening to us on daily basis. Not to the degree as described in the book, but it is definitely going in that direction.
We get separated into groups since we are little kids in school. Someone is always picked first, and someone is always last. Then we grow up, and we think we’re past it. But before we know it, some of our friends have other friends and we get separated again, based on our work, neighbourhood, background, physical appearance, nowadays even social media status.
Even though fiction, Q still touches home, and that it why I love this book. Because it’s as real as it is fictional.