In a dystopian United States where families are permitted only one child, twin teens Ava and Mira break the law simply by existing.
The red-haired, green-eyed sisters function as one person in their hometown of Dallas, fooling the country’s high-tech identification system by alternating who goes aboveground each day. When the tyrannical governor’s grandson discovers their secret, the girls are forced to flee. Following their father’s cryptic instructions over the course of a week, the sisters cross the treacherous desert in search of safety—and discover the seeds of a rebellion along the way. A dystopic future well-trod in many ways but inventive in others, Ava and Mira’s world is an all-too-believable mix of advanced technology and environmental collapse. Only one substantial character’s ethnicity is identified—Lucia, a Mexican immigrant who briefly crosses the twins’ path. In their debut, Saunders and Saunders, themselves twins, lend an authentic voice to the girls’ first-person narration, which flows nearly indistinguishably between alternating chapters. As they leave their old life behind, Ava and Mira grapple with existing as two separate people for the first time. Both tense and liberating, this shift in their identities only increases the stakes as the girls figure out their roles in the rising rebellion.
Readers are in for a fast-paced ride, poised for a sequel, as the twins embrace their father’s call, in the words of Walt Whitman, to “resist much, obey little.” (Science fiction. 13-18)