ARC Review: Oasis by Katya De Becerra

29748453._SY475_.jpgTitle: Oasis
Author: Katya De Becerra
Genre: YA Sci-fy
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Imprint Macmillan
Rating: star_icon_stylized.svg_star_icon_stylized.svg_

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I received an eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif has exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

7

Content warnings (general): (mentions of) bullying, mentions of violent behavior, smoking, physical fighting, (mentions of) racism, experience of physical strain, dehydration, alcohol

More content warnings provided by the author (mild spoilers included).

Alif is a high school graduate with big summer plans to assist her father at Tell Abrar, an archeological site outside of Dubai City, along with her friends. Unfortunately, when a storm hits the site, Alif and her friends are stranded. Despite the odds, they find an Oasis but is it their salvation or their ruination?

I had a lot of feelings about Oasis, while at the same time not being sure what to think. I liked that Oasis was nothing like any other books I’ve previously read. It utilized conventions of multiple genres– mainly mystery, sci-fi, thriller, and horror. It kept me on my toes and had me guessing once the action picked up. 

Unfortunately, the pacing was one of the things that made it difficult to get into this book. The promise of Australian characters from ethnically diverse backgrounds drew me in within the first few pages. But it took so long to build up the foundation for the story and the group dynamics that I had a hard time pushing through to figure out what happens when they actually find the Oasis. Then, once the action started, it never stopped until it suddenly did. The ending felt abrupt, especially when considering all the action leading up to it. 

I also failed to connect with most of the characters since they barely had any page time. I couldn’t really root for them, in part because I felt I did not know them and I didn’t know what was going on. The group was carefully balanced before being caught in the storm, but only just barely. There was no question about whether their relationships would stay the same when what tied them together seemed so superficial. I wish the characters had been more developed and that they interacted more.

I spent the majority of the book wondering if I had skipped pages or missed some code embeded in the pages because a lot did not make sense. Perhaps that was on purpose? It certainly made me understand how confused the characters must have been. 

Overall, Oasis left me asking more questions at the end than it answered but not in a way I wanted.

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