Sand by Jasmin Kirkbride

Sand by Jasmin Kirkbride
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When Suzy was born, her parents filled her mouth with sand. But this is normal and natural and the way things are always done.

And if she finds it uncomfortable to keep it there, to eat with it there, to talk with it there, she’s just going to have to learn to live with it.

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Not every tradition is a good one.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this tale was its nuanced approach to the trauma Suzy and everyone else experienced in this world. Her parents genuinely loved her and thought they had no other choice but to continue the destructive patterns of behavior they’d seen as children. The compassion the author had for everyone involved in these rituals was admirable. It would have been quite easy to write Suzy’s parents off as negligent at best, so I was pretty happy to see how deeply the narrator dug into what was truly going on there.

I would have preferred to see a little more development of the ending. While I understood what the author was doing with her metaphor, I think it could have been expanded more to explain why Suzy’s culture felt the need to keep sand in their mouths in the first place and why she attempted to change that tradition. Had this section been given a bit more time to shine, I would have easily given it a five star rating as the message of it was marvelous.

Speaking of the metaphor, it was also well done. It was broad enough to reference many different types of intergenerational trauma that happen in the real world while also specific enough to firmly root this storyline in the science fiction genre. I enjoyed interpreting the most powerful scenes from these perspectives as certain conversations or actions could be viewed in completely different ways depending on how literally or figuratively the reader chose to understand them.

Sand was a thoughtful science fiction story that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.

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