Lizard Radio begins as young Kivali is dropped off at a CropCamp by her caretaker Sheila, in order to shape her into a productive and helpful member of society, a betrayal by every definition. Now, Kivali must learn to live in a strange, conformist farming environment. She meets Ms. Mischetti, camp director, as well as Sully, Rasta, Nona, and other friends to help her along her journey of self-discovery and truth-seeking. This book follows Kivali’s thoughts throughout the exchanges and discoveries she makes about herself and the world around her. While this book contains elements of mystery and adventure, the majority is simply the social interactions between Kivali and those immediately surrounding her and her reflections on her past, making it a teen fiction book.
One important aspect of Lizard Radio is the ambiguity of nearly everything in some way. All elements of this book, including the main character, plot, environment, side characters, and antagonist contain some amount of ambiguity, whether in their intentions, their pasts, or their purpose. This makes the book somewhat difficult to understand in places from the somewhat vague descriptions and lack of background information about the world in which this story takes place. The ambiguity element makes the book hard to read in places, and I would recommend this book to teens 14 or older. I found this book very engaging, and the simple language made it seem familiar and relatable, making me care about the characters. I legitimately wanted to find out more about what was happening in Kivali’s life, and I was upset when the book ended somewhat abruptly. I will say, though, that sometimes Kivali’s reactions are underplayed in certain environments. I felt her grief and her passion very strongly in some scenes, but in others I felt that she wasn’t expressing enough of a reaction to be relatable. However, the context of the book in these spots helps to make this forgivable. This book’s tone is relatively constant, giving the reader a sense of foreboding throughout the entire experience but also keeping an air of happiness or sadness in scenes where it is appropriate. Overall, Kivali’s word choice felt genuine to me and also assisted in engaging me in the story. I feel that this book was impactful, even if the ambiguity aspect of it makes it difficult to identify some other aspects. I would definitely recommend this book to more mature readers who want to be sucked into another world during their reading. This book also applies to modern society in the question of the significance of the main character’s gender. While this is a touchy subject for some, I feel that this book’s context and language helps to portray it in a believable and effective way.