This compulsively readable science-fiction debut will appeal widely.
Seventeen-year-old Wren is one of many young people who, after dying of a widespread virus called KDH, came back to life. Called reboots, they are stronger and more aesthetically refined. They also tend to be more aggressive and less empathic; these traits become more pronounced with each minute spent dead. They are confined to Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation facilities, where they are forced to train as soldiers who carry out the will of their captors. Dead for a record 178 minutes before she reanimated, Wren commands respect and is reasonably satisfied with her second life. But the introduction of a new detainee, Callum, to whom she’s inexplicably drawn coincides with her sickening realization that the humans have been experimenting on the lower-numbered reboots with terrifying results, leading her to forge a desperate escape. Though undeniably derivative of so many in the genre, this is a well-imagined story in its own right. Superb concepts and plotting will hook readers from the start, and though Wren echoes the reluctant-heroine trope common to many recent dystopian adventures, she is sympathetic. The tension between Wren and Callum is playful and often sweet, offering plenty to those who appreciate romance.
Though the story is neatly resolved, the possibility of a sequel is still tantalizingly possible. (Dystopian adventure. 14 & up)