Sixteen-year-old Syd is a good guy; but he’s “proxy” to a “patron,” so Syd has to pay for someone else’s crimes.
In a post-apocalyptic, near future, gay teen Sydney Carton was a “swampcat” orphan from the eastern wastes of what was once America. The Benevolent Society rescued him, named him after the Dickens character and charged him for the rescue as well as his future education. (Two other orphans are named Tom Sawyer and Atticus Finch.) To repay that debt, they assigned him to be a proxy for Knox Brindle, whose father runs the powerful SecuriTech company. Whenever Knox acts up, Syd is punished, sometimes violently. When Knox’s antics kill a girl, Syd’s sentenced to years of hard labor on top of the debt he still owes. Fed up, Syd escapes and accidentally comes face to face with Knox, who’s beginning to wonder if he isn’t the one who owes a debt to his proxy. As the boys avoid the Guardians, they discover that the secret to forgiving everyone’s debts may be in Syd’s blood. Accidental Adventures author London drops his first initial for his teen debut, a smart, stylish science-fiction thriller that deftly weaves big issues like guilt, accidents of birth, redemption and commerce into a page-turning read.
Whipping Boy + Blade Runner with a sprinkling of The Hunger Games (plus, of course, a dash of A Tale of Two Cities) = a treat for teen SF fans. (Science fiction. 12 & up)