Tough to detail the plot, since all of the legitimately interesting portions are spoilers, but...Basically, an apocalypse happens, in which the sun flares and kills all plant life and vaporizes all water on the Earth's surface, and Evie is one of few survivors. She's unfortunately terrible at surviving, but is lucky to have first her mother and then Jackson to take care of her. Jackson is a Cajun juvenile delinquent, and it's an opposites attract situation with Evie having been a peppy cheerleader in her pre-dystopian life. The plot gets (comparatively) interesting when we start to learn that Evie has magic(ish) powers to do with plants--and that there are other teens out in the world with other powers.
The prologue is gripping, and the final chapter is rather triumphant. I can't deny that there are a lot of great ideas in this book. I really wanted to know about the Arcana and what their purpose in the world is. I can't deny that I'm still intrigued, and that even though I really, really did not like this book, I will probably read the next one in the series. That's how interesting the fantasy elements are.
The romance did not work for me, and the main reason for that is Jackson. Jackson comes from a dirt poor background where he's had to learn to fight for basic survival--and by fight, I mean beat men's faces into their skulls. He's a bad boy...okay, fine, I like bad boys. The problem is he just doesn't come across as redeemable in any capacity. He drinks heavily, puts Evie down all the time, and hits on another girl to make her jealous. If all that isn't bad enough, I'm left with the impression that his only motivation for helping Evie is to get into her pants. At one point, when she puts a stop to their physical activities, he blows up at her, basically saying "I saved your life, the least you could do is put out!" Our hero, ladies and gentlemen! So this book fails entirely as a romance, and whether the relationship stands a remote chance of being salvaged for me in future books is doubtful.
So, there isn't a single truly likeable character...maybe the plot is still good? Yes, to a point, but the pacing is way off. The first third is spent on Evie's high school drama--maintaining popularity, having a surprise birthday party, maybe losing her virginity to her perfect boy friend...none of which shows any signs of being even slightly relevant to the actual plot. A lot of this could have and should have been slashed in favor or interesting things.