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Scavenger Girl #1

Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

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Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family's bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger...and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.

When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms - free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she's always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family's survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?

352 pages, Paperback

Published October 15, 2017

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About the author

Jennifer Arntson

7 books48 followers
I'm a dreamer kept well grounded by my amazing husband and two ever-changing children. I have a flare for the dramatic, am adventurous with food, and constantly looking for my next adrenaline rush. When I'm not torturing the keys on my laptop with another novel in progress, you'll find me devouring life before I'm too old and my legs give up on me. Enough about me, let me introduce you to three people far more interesting than myself...

Find up to date information on the Series at our Facebook page where chapters are posted for every 250 followers that subscribe!

Follow Una herself @Una_of_Ashlund

Follow Marsh and hear his voice @Mars_of_Ashlund

Follow Calish and know him more @Cal_of_Ashlund

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,564 reviews475 followers
October 15, 2017
Season of Atchem is the first book in Jennifer Arntson’s Scavenger Girl series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book. This first one has pulled me completely into the world, leaving me super excited to find out what comes next in this wonderful story.

Whilst the book is labelled as young adult fantasy, I believe such a thing does the book a real injustice. It is so much more than your standard young adult fantasy novel, offering more depth than you tend to see. This is not an attack on other young adult fantasy novels – I’m a big fan of the genre and am well aware of the many wonderful reads that can be found – but many of my recent young adult fantasy reads do pale in comparison to this one. In many ways, I feel as though this book is closer to adult fantasy. It’s the age of the main character that has given it the young adult label, when in reality it is a much more mature read. I do not mean this in the sense of the book having numerous explicit scenes to bump it into new adult or adult, as seems to be the trend in young adult fantasy as of late, rather I feel as though the depth and the messages sent are more in line with a more mature reader. Young adults can certainly enjoy it, yet the older readers should not shy away due to the young adult label.

What we’re given is a fabulous story, with so many layers and so much hidden depth. I could go on and on about each of the different elements, writing an extremely lengthy review that covers every single tiny details, but to do such a thing will fail to convey the wonderful way in which all the different elements of this story interact.

We’re given a new world to deal with, a rather dystopian society. As the story progresses, we get to see more and more about the world. Although we only get to see a small snippet of the entire world, we get to experience so much in this one. Moreover, there is so much promise about what we’ll get to see in the future books. I feel as though a lot of the things we were introduced to in this one will become more prevalent in the future books, and that we’ll get to experience so much more than we did in this first book.

We’re given a wonderful cast, multidimensional characters. At first, I was unsure about some of the characters, feeling as though they existed merely to add a certain element to the story, but as things move forward all of the characters grow and develop. Everyone had a role to play, everyone was important. Love or hate a character, you will come to enjoy the interactions. Not to mention, there are plenty of unknowns left at the end – things you’ll believe about characters but will be unsure about, things you’ll want to see, things you’ll hope will be avoided, and so much more.

Holding the world and cast together is a gripping storyline that introduces you to so much. It is clear this book is the first in the series, as there are many things introduced in this one. When so much is happening in a story, sometimes things can become a bit confusing – but such is not the case here. Everything flows so well, details being introduced and merging with what we already know. There are so many different elements to this story, guaranteeing something will pull you in.

My only disappointment was that I wanted a little bit more action. As I stated, this is the first book in the series and it does a lot of introducing, yet I feel as though it overshadowed the potential for action. There were many twists thrown in, lots of things are given, and I hope this means we’ll get even more action in the future books. This, of course, is just a personal preference – it’s a brilliant book without the action, yet I’m somewhat biased towards the action sequences.

Overall, this was a wonderful read. It is a brilliant debut book, and I cannot wait to see what comes next. It’s certainly a book that people need to pick up, a series I need to follow.
Profile Image for Esther.
588 reviews110 followers
December 11, 2017
Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warning; This book contains rape scenes and almost rape scenes

Not a bad book! Not a bad book at all. It's a book with some great worldbuilding, everything is explained in a way that it's understandable. The best part was the writing. It was easy to read, fluently and it keeps you reading. For me, the connection wasn't there with the characters and that's what made this book a 3-rating for me. I have been in doubt, because this book was better than some of my 3-ratings, but I just didn't feel connected.

A longer review can be found at Bite Into Books

Like I said; Not a bad book! I think that people will love this book if they feel the connection with Una. It just lowered my score, but I see a lot of great reviews for this book on Goodreads. It contains great worldbuilding and the writing is solid. You should try this book, maybe you do find the connection with Una!
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 9 books405 followers
January 3, 2019
Set in a bleak dystopian world with no bright spots where people are divided into caste-like groups, Una is one of the Scavengers, the non-citizens who scrape and starve, surviving on the scraps of society. She has no rights, and as a girl, dreads the day she will be auctioned off into slavery. The world building is fascinating and well-thought-out, with a lush universe you can easily picture, from Una’s home, to the “Authority” which rules over their lives, to the family backstory which comes out gradually over the course of the book.

Things take an unexpected turn for Una when a citizen wishes to marry her and they begin courting. But this is still a dark, dark world with no happy endings where women and girls have no rights and no agency. Even if her status changes, is the world of the citizens really as untroubled as she might have wanted to believe, or is she exchanging one trouble for another? As a warning, this novel does contain graphic scenes of incest presented as romance, which was the one element that didn’t really work for me. Still, other than that one element, this was a good read and a strong start to a dystopian series.

Trigger Warnings:

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for William Collins.
Author 12 books103 followers
January 27, 2019
3.5 stars.

Scavenger girl by Jennifer Arntson is filled with intricate world-building, solid writing and a brave plot.
Season of Artem is the first out of four books in the scavenger series, with possibly more to come?
The book is not a light read, with many dark aspects that could trigger certain readers.
The detail of Una’s dystopian world and its caste system was my favourite part and is sadly reflective of what human beings are capable of, reducing certain people into lesser ranks and slavery.
Una of Ashlund is one of these lower classes, the scavengers. That is until one of the slave-owners, the civilians, takes an interest and wishes to marry Una, taking her away from the bottom of society and placing her firmly on the ‘better’ side.
However, I could very much tell this was only the first part of a longer project, not a complete first novel. This book felt more like Act One, with lots of setup but ending before things could really take off.
Profile Image for Allen Lamb.
Author 1 book5 followers
September 6, 2018
Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem is the first book in a five-part series about a girl named Una who lives in the less fortunate half of a dystopian world divided harshly between the haves (Citizens) and the have-nots (Scavengers). The story paints a picture of Una's early life with her Scavenger family as they suffer the injustices inflicted on them by the Authority which serve to keep the Scavengers in their place. But when a Citizen takes interest in her as a potential wife, she is pulled into the world of Citizens only to find that, despite their higher status, there are horrors to be found in their half of the world as well.

Una is a girl on the cusp of womanhood in a deeply unjust world and this makes her a very compelling character. I was completely on her side from the very beginning and sympathized with all of her struggles. The writing is solid, professional and polished and I found the story is engaging.

There were only two issues I had with the story. This is book one of a five-part series so I fully expected there to be unresolved problems and elements of the story that are set up for some future purpose. But even so, I can't help but feel that I wanted a little more in book one. I was left with the feeling that all the best stuff is yet to come. I suppose that's not such a bad criticism.

The second issue I had concerned a particular scene towards the end of the book that felt a little... off. I hesitate to elaborate here as doing so would likely be a spoiler. But in a strange way, I think that scene was a testament to how fully "on" the rest of the book was.

I have no doubt that I'll be reading more of the series.
November 13, 2017
Brilliant. This is The first of 5 in the upcoming series. It started out slow for me, but I quickly realized a complete universe had been created by the author. There’s so much delight to be had when a book takes you away from Earth. Rituals, seers, betrothals, elixirs, feast for gods, rules and laws for different social standings, the details of how the system works was well written.
The emotions from the characters felt genuine, even sometimes awkward. There are a lot of questions I still have.....leaving me CRAVING for the next book to release. This may be one of my favorite reads yet!
Profile Image for Rajeev Singh.
Author 19 books69 followers
October 6, 2018
A very well-written book from the pen of an accomplished author, that’s how I put this book in a nutshell. And since this is her first (somewhat hard to believe), she definitely has a long way to go. I don’t read much fantasy, unless it’s mingled with horror, so I delved into it with a baggage of expectation (the pop culture icons of Mid World and Middle Earth looming large) that slowly melted away as I got engrossed into the story of Una, an adorable girl from a Scavenger family of Ashlund, a fringe section of society with their rights stripped away, eking out a living that reminded me of the plight of the Sudras (lowest Hindu caste) in the Vedic age. How those pariahs weren’t allowed to associate with the citizens, on pain of legal retaliation, harked back to the practice of pouring molten lead into a Sudra’s ears if he so much as heard a shred of the Vedic chants. Here there were soldiers delivering their brand of cruel (and sexually abusive) justice to Una’s parents for a minor infringement.

But love blossomed here too - against a lush countryside backdrop - whether it was filial (with its share of anguish) or between a blue-eyed, eponymously-named citizen and a scavenger girl who was torn between the realization of her low birth and doubts of being wooed as a piece of sexual property (as was the custom of Ashlund), not a girl cute enough and deserving enough to be loved as a person.

Despite a bit of slow pacing in some parts, it was a nice experience. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Profile Image for Justin.
Author 2 books11 followers
February 17, 2019
Scavenger Girl is about a young girl named Una. In this dystopian story both her and her family live as scavengers in squalor and poverty. Scavengers are seen by the majority of the population as less than human and are treated worse than animals. They have almost no rights and by law must concede to the will of those above them. Young girls and boys are bought and sold and are used until they are discarded.
Jennifer Arntson creates a detailed world where the characters are well rounded and believable. And while the setting is bleak and seemingly without hope, the author is able to use that to show that even those with nothing can have hopes, dreams and are even able to find love and joy.
The story does finish rather abruptly but I am assuming that the next books will reveal more and get more into how Una’s character will change to allow her to overcome the massive obstacles in her life.
If you enjoy stories about characters who against all hope can survive and make a life for themselves even when the worlds against you, then this is a story for you.
Profile Image for Laurette Long.
Author 8 books40 followers
September 26, 2018
Described variously on the Amazon product page as fantasy/children’s book/coming of age/dystopian/romance, this novel struck me as predominantly a coming of age story, narrated by 16-year-old heroine Una. Chapter 1 plunges the reader directly into the world of our ‘scavenger girl’, at the centre of a family conflict after she has run away from her mother on a trip to the market. We learn that Una’s family are outcasts, ‘reclaimers’ condemned to live on the fringes of the mainstream society of the Citizens of Ashlund. ‘Rejected by men and the gods’, they live in fortress-like conditions in a place called Scablands, haunted by the prospect of a visit by the dreaded ‘Authority’, the grim law keepers of Ashlund who apply rules and punish as they see fit.
As the story develops Una struggles with the existential problems of a girl on the brink of womanhood, longing for independence, troubled by the emotional and sexual changes she is undergoing, questioning both her identity as an individual and her place in the divided world of Ashlund with its conflicting values and norms.
Trapped by her lack of birthright she knows that her probable future will be as ‘a slave, wife or surrogate’ to a Citizen, auctioned off at a public market to the highest bidder. But things change as she and her family are caught up in unexpected and violent events; the tension mounts, secrets are revealed, romantic conflicts resolved, and as the book draws to an end the course of Una’s destiny takes a dramatically different direction.
There’s plenty of action and suspense to keep the reader’s interest (some scenes are not for the faint-hearted). There were other parts where I found the pace flagged a little, possibly because of the amount of contextual information the author wished to impart, possibly because the protagonists were not as sympathetic or credible as others (I’m thinking of the Atchem Festival and the character of Blue, one of the two romantic interests in the book).
Arntson has obviously put a great deal of meticulous planning into the creation of this fantasy world with its three moons and five seasons. The depictions of Ashlund’s two contrasting societies are well-written and highly detailed. On the one hand is the materialistic, often violent, world of the Citizens with its militaristic Authority, its religious ceremonies and festivals, its rites and traditions. On the other is Scabland, which despite its name appears in a more idyllic light, with nostalgic overtones of the early homesteaders of the American prairies, close-knit families working and playing together, hunting, gathering, recycling. They may be shunned, despised, part of a lower order, their life may be harder and more precarious, but theirs is the more authentic, happier world. These were the parts of the book I enjoyed most and were the most emotionally convincing: the portrayal of Una’s home, her family, the simple pleasures of everyday living close to nature, tending to the livestock and in particular the description of Una’s relationship with the ‘magical’ horse, Rebel and the joy of her bond with him as they gallop through flower-strewn pastures and discover legendary woodlands.
This is a cross-genre book, but at its centre is a story that both adult and young readers can identify with, that of a young girl growing up and trying to find her place in a confusing world.
Profile Image for Megan.
73 reviews8 followers
November 28, 2017
Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem by Jennifer Arnston

**I received this book in exchange for an honest review**

“Your eyes are the truest thing I’ve ever seen, and for some reason they make my mouth stop working.”

Oh. My. God. This. Book. Jennifer sent me this book before it was released and with all the wedding preparations I just hadn’t got around to it until now and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Although, it does make it hopefully less time that I will have to wait for the next book.

I honestly don’t know where to start. This book took me on such a roller coaster ride of emotions while still creating a beautiful story and setting up for sequels. It has been a long time for me to start a new book and immediately be drawn into the world and the characters. The writing was just absolutely superb from start to finish and Jennifer just pulled me into the world. I felt like I was a Scavenger Girl myself.

This story revolves around a 17 year old girl named Una who lives with her family as scavengers. In this world, someone can lose their birthright and it carries onto their entire family. They have no rights and are despised by the citizens. They survive by “scavenging” items that the citizens leave behind or throw out. Una lives with her mother, father and 2 brothers Marsh and Calish and they manage to enjoy life and survive the best that they can under the circumstances.

Una eventually meets a boy named Blue who lives as a citizen with his grandparents. His grandfather is probably one of the sweetest characters I have read about in a long time. I wanted him to be my grandpa haha. But he sort of helps Una and her family as much as he can get away with. Una and Blue meet and they’re smitten with one another. Anyone who has read any book in this sort of genre knows how well that will work out but it ends up being way worse than I imagined it would be.

Now, the most horrifying part of this world is how the women are treated, especially scavenger women. Young girls are sold into slavery once they are physically able to bear children. It is more celebrated as a citizen but scavenger girls fear the day they become women and often try to hide it. This part completely horrified me. That, and how marriages are preformed. I won’t go into that part though.

There were so many twists and character development that I just could not get enough of it. It didn’t hurt that I had a major crush on Calish haha but that’s besides the point. I can’t give anything else of this story away as I think anyone who enjoys that sort of dystopian/badass female lead type story needs to read. The only thing I hate about this book is that the second one isn’t already available to read.

Jennifer did a phenomenal job of pulling readers into a world where your status can literally mean life of death. An absolutely captivating story of survival, determination and the importance of family. This book is a must read.

For more reviews: https://soulmeetsbooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 3 books23 followers
December 6, 2017
From the first page, I was transported into the world of Una and her family. They are society’s outcasts: “Reclaimers” or “Scavengers” to use nice terms and “Scabs” for those more cruel. Great disparities exist between their lives and that of the privileged Citizens. To be deserving of such a cruel fate as to have one’s birthright stripped away and forced to live on cast aside scraps, you’d think they must have done something awful. But to understand and appreciate this book properly, you’re going to have to put aside all of your preconceived notions.

The world building is excellent - dark and dystopian with a bit of a Hunger Games vibe. The author has a mind for detail. I was able to envision Una’s world easily because her words paint it beautifully. Some of the typical fantasy elements are employed, but the plot, themes, and characters were well crafted enough to pass for literary fiction.

Save for one action scene near the beginning, the book is fairly calm, consisting of a long, immersive build-up to the end events. This is a daring choice by the author (as most would pepper in bits of “excitement” throughout to maintain reader interest), but it works. I was able to become fully vested in the characters. To truly understand who they were and what made them tick. There were also plenty of secrets to uncover, which kept me turning pages long into the night.

In terms of mood, it’s fairly ominous. From the brutal Authority figures to other wolves in sheep’s clothing, dark and dangerous things lurk in the shadows. A deep sense of unease pervaded the pages. I spent the whole of the read with my heart lodged in my throat as I waited terrible things to befall the characters I had grown so attached to. The foreshadowing pays off in the end. Those well-versed in fantasy reads may have some idea what’s in store for the big reveal, but the author uses broad enough strokes that you won’t figure out the entire book halfway through.

There are some awkward bits when the tense switches between past and present, but on the whole, Scavenger Girl is a well written book. The language effectively toes the line between poetic and utilitarian, and the story flows smoothly. I enjoyed the book, and it’s definitely going to be one of my go-to recommendations in its genre. Considering that it's the author's debut makes it even more impressive. I look forward to the promise of more to come.
166 reviews7 followers
June 26, 2017
“What would he have done if his choices were unlimited?” (832). Una wonders this about her resourceful and beloved brother Calish, but it’s also a question for herself. At a turning point in her life, does she choose to marry to a man who’ll give her and her family security above what they ever dreamed attainable? Or does she opt for love? Can she have both? Does having unlimited choices help or hinder us make the best ones?
Follow Una as she traverses her passage into Womanhood and as she discovers her hidden identity in society. Raised by a salt-of-the-earth family who risk their lives for one another, Una resists being cared for. While her family builds her a safety bunker to hide her from the Authority, she loves to ride the horse she names Rebel, whom she claims from another Scavenger family run off (or killed off) their land. She loves to contribute to the family’s welfare, not to be protected to the point of captivity. But over the course of Atchem, during which the land prepares for the dark season of Talium, mirroring her own preparations for adulthood, Una learns that she needs the help of her brothers and mother and father to navigate the brutal culture at whose fringes they exist. Through Blue, the just-Coined man who wants to marry her, Una learns the ways of the Citizens. So, too, we readers learn as Una does, what the gods require of their people. We cheer for Una as she decides for herself which requirements to honor and how.
The pleasure in this novel is in empathizing with Una. She is both a victim and a heroine, and, so, one with whom many of us can identify. We are sucked into her plight from page one, when, drawn by forces she can’t explain, she runs off on market day, returned to the family by strangers. Like this unnamed force, we are compelled by Una’s waywardness and big heart. One can also hear overtones of our American society in the Ashlund world. The fantastical world is a safe one in which to form opinions about the real one. To make connections between the two is another pleasure of this read. This is the first in a series of novels following these same characters in different seasons.
Profile Image for Sarah G.
622 reviews6 followers
November 12, 2017
Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set on another planet. Now this world is similar to our own but different in others. More moons for one so I’m counting it as another planet. An interesting one to delve into anyway so enjoy.

Delve into a fantasy world with a family full of secrets and mystery. When these secrets come out they could turn their world up side down in a moment. Dreams could be clues and if you get a weird feeling about someone you should really listen to it.

Una, Calish, Marsh’s parents have been stripped of their birthright as Citizens, which branded them and their future children as Scavengers. They survive by picking up what others too easily discard without really being seen. Scavengers have much to be fearful of with the Authority. The first being that any daughters they have are sold at the first sign of womanhood at the festival, said festival coming up with Una soon to be attending. The other being the Talium Hunt where if her family aren’t safe behind their barriers it seems they are fair game in the hunt. All Una really wants is a way to protect her family from what’s coming. Seems a vision put everything in motion from the moment she was born. She’s different and is only now starting to figure out the world around her and her place in it.

A way for Una to save her family and get security for herself comes in the form of Blue. Now don’t get too blown over with his soft charm to begin with, as he seems to have an entitled feel to him the more you get to know him. He gets what he wants when he wants and right know he wants Una. He might want to shower her with gifts but the luxuries of the Citizens grow old when you see how twisted they have become with the gods they worship. Seems a lesson has been lost along the way. Blue says he will give her time to win her heart but that’s going to be hard to do as it belongs to another.

Una has a lot of thinking to do and it’s not helped when she is almost thrown into the deep end with what the festival is really like. Her family only has to by law attend the last evening and you can see why they would have shielded her from the other days. This is not a festival to be celebrated as some really despicable things happen there in the name of their “gods”. Things Una wishes she could unsee. Seems her mother might have the right idea to just worship the Great One. Seems we might be seeing a bit more of this in future books.

Now one brother’s story I didn’t see coming but the others and hers you could see a mile off. But that was from snippets of conversations people were either having to Una or around her when they thought she wasn’t listening. It’s giving you breadcrumb clues to try and see if you can figure it out before she does.

A good setup for the fantasy world created, very imaginative. Good at interlinking the story around the world and leading you on a journey with Una. Who she chooses and where her journey goes from here on out will be interesting to see. Is she to follow her heart for herself or her head to protect her family? Lets hope we find out soon.

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.
Profile Image for S.D. Reeves.
Author 4 books162 followers
December 21, 2017
**Rating more akin to 3.5 stars**

I am very particular in my fantasy novels, and usually gravitate towards works ala writers such as Neil Gaiman, or Margaret Atwood. Literary fantasy. It is rare that anything otherwise will grab my attention. But Scavenger girl, by Jennifer Arntson, is not a book to toss away.

The novel starts slow, but this is not a knock. Contrarily, I found this helped me establish a connection with Una’s family. Scenes of their lives as Reclaimers - pariahs who have no rights – are well placed, with effective character and world building. Tension builds with the approach to Talium. And this is where we begin to see the emergence of another aspect of this coming of age drama; a love triangle. I felt that this was given plenty of time to breathe, and came across believable. Blue is a balanced rival, with both annoying, and redeeming qualities. In short, he was pretty realistic. Finally, the ending leads well into what I assume is to be the continuation.

Anything reclaimed though, might have a few rough edges. Long, somewhat overdone explanations bog down the narrative at times (Hanaberries, takes up at least a page), and can distract from the budding drama. Also after the initial confrontation with the Authority I felt that the tension just wasn’t there, floating away like an Atchem dress. Arntson attempts to replace this with the infusion of the romance angle, and some dark imagery, but it doesn’t feel fully successful. Rape, torture, and sacrificial scenes – though the ceremonies were interesting and helped establish Blue’s traits more – were at times a little much. Despite these issues there was enough here to keep me reading on.

Strong writing that avoids repetition, and a solid understanding of world building anchors this novel. Scavenger girl isn’t perfect, but an effective beginning to what should be an interesting series. So, my suggestion: pick this book up, or if you see it laying around somewhere, reclaim it.
Profile Image for Scherry  at The Novel Lady.
303 reviews7 followers
October 21, 2017
Nooooo! I was soooo getting into this book! And then it ended without a conclusion! Yes, a lot of questions were answered... but not the big one! And we have no idea how the situation is going to play out! And now.... I have to wait for the next book to come out!

Jennifer Arntson had me hooked from the first chapter with a world of totally different societies, each with their own beliefs, customs and lifestyles. The characters were well developed and very likeable, each tugging at your heart.

Without giving away spoilers, there was a certain creep factor that involved brotherly love, but you soon discover that all is not what it seems.

Una and her family are Scavengers. Their place in society has been stripped to the lowest level possible, unable to work to obtain money or purchase items from the shops. In order to survive they must keep to the shadows, heads bowed, and reclaim those items that Citizens no longer want. Upon coming of age, the boys are hunted and the girls are sold to become slaves or surrogates. When an opportunity presents itself, Una must choose between saving her family or being with the one she loves.

This book had a bit of everything. Romance was sweet but there were a couple of scenes that may be a bit much for some Young Adult readers. I thought they were well written, but as you know some readers may be put off by a bit.

Disclosure: A complimentary ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
Profile Image for Nissanmama.
364 reviews6 followers
December 15, 2017
Scavenger Girl is the first book in the new young adult series by the same name. It’s told from the perspective of Una, a seventeen year old girl and member of the lowest caste in a leveled socio-economic system. This dystopian novel is set on a planet with three moons that with their movements create five distinct seasons: Atchem, Talium, Hytalia, Toridia, and Zoetica. The seasons correspond to the five books intended for the series.

The single perspective creates a very intimate feeling with the narration. The pace isn’t slow so much as it feels like real time, not skipping or jumping over large days or weeks. Arntson’s methodical writing style reminds me of Lois McMaster Bujold, author of the Sharing Knife series. The story is told day by day at the end of Atchem season, leading up to Talium, the dark season when the moons line up to block out the sun in a perpetual total eclipse. Nothing grows, it’s always night, and even rivers are affected by gravitational pull. In a largely agrarian society, the ability to produce food and goods is significant. Productive farmers tend to be wealthy—if they are “citizens.”

“Citizens” have standing and privilege. They worship a pantheon of gods and approve of human sacrifice. “Reclaimers” are those who have lost or never had a birthright. They are not entitled to own anything, but what they can scavenge or reclaim from the castoffs and trash of citizens. This includes their own children. Girls reaching puberty are sold into surrogacy and slavery. The contrast between the citizens and the reclaimers is stark, characterized by have and have-not at its basic level and graphically violent at the extreme. That violence feels very personal since we are intimate with Una and her family. Some sensitive readers may be triggered.

At its heart, however, Scavenger Girl is a love story. When Una has the opportunity to secure the safety of her beloved family by virtue of a betrothal to a citizen farmer, she gets to live a Cinderella fairytale—or is it? Can she fit into this parallel culture for the sake of her family? I have a few minor criticisms, but mostly, I was impressed. Arntson made me remember what a teenage, real first kiss felt like. I’ve been married 30 years so that’s saying a lot. I read enough romance that I was stunned when Arntson took me there, led gently by the hand so it felt new.

There is a large annual festival prior to the start of Talium and the book builds toward that event. The love story climaxes at the end of the festival as Talium begins, but it is not resolved. The series clearly needs to be read in order. I’m very much looking forward to answers for characters I came to like and, I hope, enough story to justify five books.

Arntson is serious about her series. There is an interactive website dedicated to just this series and twitter accounts for each of the main characters already set up. Arntson wants readers to interact with the website, her characters, and each other.

My Rating: A, Loved It
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,536 reviews19 followers
October 24, 2017
I chose to read this e-book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Scavenger Girl grabbed my interest from the beginning and it never slowed down. The world that Jennifer Arnston has built is cruel and violent. Those who have a birthright are naive in many ways but accepting of so many vicious traditions, it’s heartbreaking to read at times.

Una is the main character. She lives with her parents and two brothers and she dreads the day that she has to leave. Since she doesn’t have a birthright, she’ll most likely be sold if she’s not taken from her family by the Authority before then for…who knows what. The apprehension she feels is constant and is portrayed well. I was right there with her feeling her pain. And then there’s the guilt she feels!

Scavenger Girl is full of loyalty, betrayal, lies, true love and more. I usually finish one book and move on to the next but this was one of those rare books that I had to take a short break because Una’s world is still on my mind. The story ends at a good point but I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
34 reviews
June 7, 2017
Una is a Scavenger, the lowest class of Ashlund. Scavengers are not allowed to work, they "reclaim" (take cast-off items from the higher classes). They are hunted by the Authority and basically have to keep their heads down and try to be invisible. They do not have any rights or privileges and cannot be friends with Citizens. Being a Scavenger is difficult but the love of Una's close-knit family makes it bearable.
Una hasn't reached Womanhood yet, but when she does, she will be sold, either to become a slave, surrogate, or wife. Her choices open up as she catches the eye of a Citizen named Blue.
I'm a bit conservative when it comes to bedroom scene details and this book had a little more detail than I like, but overall I really enjoyed reading this book! It was well-written and the plot was good. The details of the society and the imagery used were incredible! There is a bit of mystery, romance, and danger mixed in with the story to keep you on your toes and wanting more. Each book is written in the time period of one season of Ashlund and I can't wait for the second one!
Profile Image for Thomas Jr..
Author 16 books100 followers
October 6, 2018
A Dark and Beautiful Story in a Beautifully Crafted World

Jennifer Arnston's Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem is the best fantasy novel I've read in a very long time. Arnston's world building is superb, well thought out, minutely detailed and for the most part, consistent. Her premise is dark - a society legally divided into haves and have-nots, but her story shows well how love is no respecter of arbitrary divisions. Una, the protagonist, is strong, vulnerable and eminently likeable. She keeps secrets out of necessity and Arntson does a great job of slowly revealing those secrets to keep the reader's interest. The secondary characters are also well-crafted and three dimensional. The story ends of a bit of a cliff-hanger, but that's fine - it just makes the reader hungry for the next volume in the series.
Profile Image for David Tucker.
Author 1 book46 followers
January 30, 2018
Jennifer has done a fantastic job in this tale of intrigue, it has original and witty proportions and was an absolute pleasure to read.
The constructs of this world where Scavengers are truly the bottom feeders of society was constructed in such a way, you felt terrible for their lot in life. Yet as humans often do, they made the best of it, as best as they could.
This story had terrifying realities and reflections of human nature, yet celebrated, at times, the love that caries us through the hard times. This book hit a chord on several levels and made me fret for the protagonist in a way I have not done in a long time. I absolutely loved this story, and I really will be looking for the next installment. Five stars from me!
Profile Image for Brenda Cheers.
Author 8 books30 followers
December 19, 2018
Season of Atchem takes us to a world where there are three moons and two distinct social classes.
If you have the misfortune to belong to the lowly Reclaimer (Scavenger) class, life is not easy. You have few rights, fewer sources of income and some nasty law-enforcement personnel.
Una is a Scavenger Girl. Fortunately for her, she has a loving family who are adept at survival techniques. Through the course of this story, she finds that almost everything she believed to be true wasn’t how she imagined and she must fight for her place in this unusual world.
This is a well-written novel, the first in a series. A good read.
Profile Image for Amy Shannon.
Author 111 books120 followers
October 20, 2017
Interesting story

This book has a premise that is both interesting and intriguing. Una is about to be a woman, and that means she can become a slave, surrogate or wife. Not much of a choice, but then something happens. She meets Blue. This story gives a lot of details and you have to be open minded in the intimate scenes, but it's a refreshing story. Some things are disturbing but not about the story but about how the characters are treated, and that makes for good story telling. This book invokes emotions that need to be released. Very well done.
Profile Image for Alex.
Author 44 books296 followers
December 12, 2017
A well written and tense coming of age story with some great worldbuilding. It's a good long read too and doesn't hurry itself - it has time to really explore its rather grim world, so that you're left in no doubt about the terrible choice ahead of the heroine. My main problem with it is that--because it's an exploration of a girl's exprience of becoming a young woman in a hostile and sexist society, it is full of sexual dread and sexual assault both in threat and in actual practice. So if that kind of thing is likely to upset you, I would avoid this one.
Profile Image for Jennifer Tooker.
375 reviews11 followers
August 23, 2017
Full disclosure – I was provided a copy of this book by the author however have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.

Meet Una of Ashlund

Una is a Scavenger. Among the lowest caste in her society, sometimes referred to as “scabs” or Reclaimers, Una and all others like her must survive without the luxury of the comforts of being a Citizen or the protection of the Authority. As a Scavenger, Una and her people are not permitted to have money or jobs outside of what they can do to work their lands and can never accept gifts from the Citizens. Her people survive by reclaiming still useful items discarded by the Citizenry as no longer needed. Una is fortunate however, as her family seems to have found a curious favor with a local farmer who secretly provides her family with many needed items.

As the season of Atchem draws to a close and the yearly festival nears to usher in the dark months of Talium, Una faces a coming of age for which she is not prepared. For Citizens, the transition to Womanhood is a momentous occasion but for Scabs, it just means being sold to the highest bidder as a wife, a surrogate, or worse. Una fears this above all else as this would mean never seeing her family again. But after catching the eye and affections of Blue, the grandson of a local farmer, Una wonders if this could be the thing that rescues her and her family from the inevitable. She is taken by this gentle boy and finds herself drawn to him, but cannot understand her brother Calish’s seeming vehemence to the young Citizen whom he hardly even knows. The further she explores a possible arrangement with Blue that could very well change her and her family’s situation, the more is revealed about family secrets that leaves her reeling and wondering if she even knows who she is. With Atchem ending and the darkness of Talium looming, Una is faced with some tough choices that she never thought she would have to consider.

To say that Scavenger Girl is a captivating dystopian world full of danger, intrigue and romance really does not do this story justice. As a matter of fact, the synopsis above barely scratches the surface of this amazing place that Jennifer Arntson has created. Ashlund is a distant world, with beautiful landscapes, multiple moons, cruel gods and an even more cruel government. The further Arntson drew me into the Scablands, the more I found myself not wanting to stop reading. In fact, it has been many years since a story has captured my attention to the point that Scavenger Girl did. Had the remaining books in the series been available at the time of my reading, I am certain I would have already purchased them for a binge fest of epic proportions! As of now, I am finding myself experiencing a major “book hangover” as I await the release of Book 2.

Written primarily from Una’s point of view, the observations are the raw thoughts of a girl on the verge of Womanhood and the discovery of a world much bigger than what she has experienced thus far. Many classic dystopian elements are present, but what really caught me off guard was the romantic aspect of the entire story. Watching Una and Blue interact at times reminded me of Pygmalion, as Blue escorts Una around the town teaching her the ways of the Citizens. For me, Scavenger Girl was a much welcome and refreshing twist on two previously formulaic and sometimes predictable genres. I would highly recommend this for anyone who likes Science Fiction, Fantasy or Romance. Or, in my case, as a person who is not too fond of romances as a rule Scavenger Girl just may well be my exception.
Profile Image for George Verongos.
Author 7 books13 followers
August 18, 2018
Season of Atchem was refreshing to read on two levels for me. 1) I love the familiar tropes of classic fantasy and dystopian novels. 2) The twist on those classic elements that made them relatable and easy to see in our world today was brilliant. The ease of which of Arnston weaves palpable action, as well as tension, is impressive and is perfectly detailed so as to playout vividly without telling the reader exactly what to think or how to feel. Looking forward to the second book!
Profile Image for Staci Black.
516 reviews2 followers
August 16, 2018
My heart went out to this young woman.

Faced with a life determined by unjust societal restrictions. She struggles daily to understand how she must endure. Learning much is not as it has seemed her choices become even more difficult. Does love even get to factor in?
October 23, 2018

This book was engaging from the very start. I felt wrapped in it. The plot peeled it self away are you feeling bits and pieces has the book moves forward. Buy one disappointment was that the story wasn’t over where when I finished the book.
4 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2019
I usually critique a book by the speed of which I complete it. This book captivated me in the first few chapters and I couldn’t put it down! Great book from beginning to end. Sad to have finished it so quickly, glad that I already have the next book to begin!
Profile Image for Jirinka (sony08).
342 reviews10 followers
October 21, 2017
I love a bit of fantasy and this book fits right into that genre. The synopsis I was sent didn’t give too much away which is how I kind of prefer to receive books. I can then really make up my own mind.

Right from page one you are thrown into the harsh world of Ashlund, where Citizens live by strict rules under the power of the priests and the threat of being excluded from the high society. On the other side of the coin you have the Scavengers (or Reclaimers). They live on what they can grow and find and make themselves. They also live in constant fear of being hunted, tortured and murdered by the Authority, who makes this their sport of choice.

Una is a teenage girl on the brink of womanhood, who has only ever known living as a Scavenger with her parents and two brothers. But things are starting to change. With the upcoming Atchem festival where girls are pretty much sold based on whether they are fertile or not, strange things start happening around her. She has dreams that too real; a horse they reclaim seems to understand every word she says.

And then there is Blue. The Citizen that pays Una the attention a lover pays to his sweetheart. And behind Una’s back a plan is being hatched between Una’s parents and Blue’s grandfather that would change her life forever.

But revelations within her own family threaten everything Una knows and she sets of on a dangerous path decisions that will shape everyone’s future. The bonds within her family are threatened and only her own instinct and understanding can stop a disaster.

I don’t want to give any more away. I loved the book and can’t wait for the next installment.
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