Hipstopia by R.A. Desilets tells the tale of a group of disaffected youngsters who under the leadership of a cult-like leader rebelled against the structure of modernity and carved out Los Angeles as their refuge from the world they disdain. There they must “quiet” dissenters who are themselves rising against the order that Murphy, Hipstopia’s leader, has erected.
We see this world though Jay, a head Quieter who becomes increasingly disenchanted with his life. Two key incidents I won’t spoil force him to face a decision that leads to the end of this story – or is it the cliff-hanger leading to the next?
That question expresses the potential difficulty with Hipstopia. If you come into it with expectations of a fully drawn and resolved story, you’re likely to be disappointed in some ways. Desilets structured Hipstopia as novella that is also episode 1 in an ongoing Young Adult fiction saga. As such, the story will at times feel incomplete in two ways: not yet finished and without all the back-story. Personally, this only bothered me marginally as I can look forward to future installments to fill in the missing details. As for the story we do read within the pages of Hipstopia, we are presented with enough information to appreciate the protagonist’s plight, namely the world he has chosen to inhabit and the immediate situation that presents him with difficult, life-changing choices.
For my taste, I did feel in the end that Desilets could have added a little bit more flesh toward the end, where the story felt rushed and sudden as it approached its end. In total, though, I did find this a well-written and satisfying read, and thus give it four out of five stars, with plans to pick up book #2.