Made an outcast by her mother’s crimes, a girl fights to uncover the secrets of those that control her sequestered City.
Sixteen-year-old Jiang Sev, called Sevvy, was once a member of the most revered group in the City: Firsts—those of superior wisdom. But eight years ago, her mother betrayed the City, ushering in encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness, and informing the enemy of their location. Sevvy was rebranded a Fourth, the lowest caste, and sent to a military family for re-education. But when an enemy bomb falls near Sevvy and her friend, everything accelerates. The City paints Sevvy as a suspect in the bombing due to her mother’s past. While sneaking through her own manhunt, Sevvy meets a boy who seeks to help her—shockingly, he’s the Chairman’s son. He goes by Howl, and he wants her to venture outside with him, where both fantastical beasts and those ravaged by sleeping sickness roam. As a loyal citizen, Sevvy feels conflicted—but she has nowhere else to go. As Sevvy embarks on a wild journey, she must navigate the duplicity of war, decide whom she can truly trust, and unravel the truth of her past. Brimming with rich detail in an Asian-inflected alternative world that’s lightly touched with Maoist terminology and concepts and helmed by achingly real characters, Sevvy’s story is thrilling to get lost in. By the end, readers will be clamoring for more.
Incredibly immersive and tightly plotted. (Fantasy. 14-adult)