Book cover: the last voyage of Poe Blythe

Content warnings for grief/loss/death and discussion of violence.

I’ve assembled ten of my favorite quotes from the heartrending, heart-pounding The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie. Some of these quotes were also included in my review of the novel.

A few contain mild spoilers. They don’t reveal much of the plot, but since the emotional arc is so important to the novel, a few of the final quotes will give away the direction of Poe’s journey. I’ll let you know when we wade into spoilerey territory.

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I have to begin with the obvious pull quote from the first chapter, which becomes a mission statement of sorts for Poe:

The raiders made Call nothing. Call who was everything.
I make them a promise, as their smoke and fire blot out the stars.
I will make you nothing too.

US Hardcover, Page 10

Another one of my favorites, which I would like embroidered on a pillow, please:

Some people always burn.

page 117

Another powerful quote on grief and remembrance:

He’s gone. And even if I ever get used to that, how do I get over this? The fact that I will never, ever know his whole story? I know the middle and the ending, but I can’t know his beginning.

page 190

Some moments when Poe is forced to confront the reality of violence:

It’s surprising how intimate it is. How, even though the river is wide and the ship is big, I can see the settlers’ faces, upturned towards us, their rifles, their arms raising to kill.
I liked it better when I didn’t have to see them die.

page 245

“I think we should have to see them, and they should have to see us.” My voice breaks. “We should have to look right into each other’s eyes.”
The drifters killed Call in the dark.
If they’d seen him, they would have known him.

page 258

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Now we head into spoiler territory (again, not really for plot, but for character development).

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The dredge took on gold. Killed people. Ruined the river.
The ship deserves to die. It should be stopped.
It’s me.
And I can’t leave it.

page 230

This next quote doesn’t seem as poetic or hard-hitting as some of the others, but it’s probably my favorite from the whole book. It’s so simple and unexpected. This one hit me like a punch to the stomach:

There are only so many places you can hide on a ship.
But.
I was on another ship in another lifetime.
With Call.
And we knew all the secret places. Every one.

page 178

Finally, three cuttings of the final chapters, which are gorgeously, tenderly written. These are some of my favorite quotes on grief I’ve seen in YA (right up there with books like The Astonishing Color of After):

It’s easier to kill than to save.
It’s easier to imagine a new world than to take care of the one you’ve got…
But that if there is more.
What if I can make something else.
What if I can love someone again.

page 311

But do you still live on, if someone you loved, someone who loves you, goes on to live their own dreams?
I think so. I think you live on best that way.

page 324

You are in my heart when it soars. In my hands when they make something new. In my breath when I run.
And someday, even that will be gone.
You will be deep in my blood and bones, part of me, but I will have moved past you.
Even as I carry you with me, I will have left you behind.

page 324
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