Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan LepuckiCalifornia: What it is about

From the publishers: “The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can’t reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.”

California: What I thought

Suzanne of Bibliosue got this book, a beautiful signed hardback, for me as a birthday present. She’s too nice!

And she was right: this is just the kind of book for me. I love to know what happens after the apocalypse, any apocalypse. It wasn’t really too clear at first what the apocalypse entailed, but the effects were just right: chaos and survival in the woods. When Frida and Cal come across a community, their life suddenly improves, but at a price. Bit by bit they discover how the community works and how it evolved, and they wonder whether they weren’t better off on their own in their cabin in the woods.

I enjoyed very much exploring the world together with Frida and Cal, starting small and seeing more and more of their surroundings. Meeting the different people and their backgrounds was interesting.

The story was believable. The apocalypse wasn’t overdone but seemed like a natural result of the way the world is right now. No zombies, no virus.

Really, the book was about people and their relationships. and how best to survive in a hostile world. There are no certainties, and when Frida gets pregnant they are both terrified and excited. Will their baby be welcome in a community without any children?

It was a less dark read than I expected (which is good) and I really enjoyed this novel a lot. A whole new view on a post-apocalyptic world.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2014

I got this: from Suzanne of Bibliosue, mainly because she’s such a nice person, but more specifically because she read the description and thought of me. Thanks, Suzanne! 🙂

Genre: science fiction, apocalyptic


About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

17 Responses to Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki

  1. bibliosue says:

    I am so glad to see that you enjoyed it!

  2. I just wrote my review for this one too and seen that you had posted yours so hurried over for your thoughts. I enjoyed it but not as much as you – mainly because I found it to be left too wide open. I have soooo many questions 😉

  3. BookerTalk says:

    Hooray, a book without zombies. They seem to be creeping up everywhere, very tiresome

  4. Caroline says:

    I really like the sound of this one. I’m glad it’s a no-zombie book although I like them too, occasionally.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Caroline, I also like zombie books some of the time, but I like it even better when the new world is a kind of extension of the current world. Even more realistic!

  5. This sounds right up my street!

  6. I am glad you enjoyed it, Judith…I downloaded this one on Sparky a couple of weeks ago, and I am looking forward to a more “believable” apocalyptic tale with no zombies and no virus. Looking forward to it, now. Thanks!

  7. Leslie says:

    I’m still deciding on whether to read this one. I like dystopian, but I’ve heard the ending is vague, and I like an end to my books… unless it’s a trilogy of course.

  8. diane says:

    I’m about 2/3 through the audio and reserving opinion thus far – I just skimmed your review for now, but happy to see you liked it Judith.

  9. Athira says:

    Glad that you loved this book! I’m looking forward to reading as soon as it gets to my library,

  10. Pingback: Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki (1/5) | Taking on a World of Words

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