by Linda O’Donnell (North Carolina): If a retelling of classic novels is in your wheelhouse, Sandra Newman’s Julia will not disappoint. It begins simply enough, describing the initial meeting between Julia and Winston Smith, showing her at work in the Fiction department of the Ministry of Truth. While outwardly acting the ideal citizen of Big Brother’s dystopian society, Julia hides her joyful sexuality behind the red sash of the Anti-Sex League, uses the Black Market to supplement her needs, and hides her laughter at the spectacle of the Two-Minute Hates while enthusiastically taking part. Flashbacks to Julia’s childhood adds the depth and dimension to her character that effectively helps explain her ability to navigate through the Party’s requirements, seemingly at will. Her sexual manipulation of the men from Truth is disturbing, especially as she cleverly schemes to provide the scenarios she believes the ever-present watchers will appreciate. The book is not for the faint of heart. Gruesome scenes of Julia’s torture after her surprise arrest are described in vivid detail. The appearance of “Icy” Winters as an interesting way to enlighten Julia of the facts behind her arrest. Winter’s tip about Room 101, “run out the clock,” provides the key for her survival. The novel’s end is in keeping with Orwell’s version, but the bitter twist comes as a shock, although it is clear in retrospect that Newman’s forewarning has been present all along. What a clever and revealing retelling!