Shiloh lives with her fellow Terminals in a hospital that claims to protect them from the Disease that threatens them in this creepy dystopia about a doctor who uses children as commodities.
As the story is told entirely from Shiloh’s limited point of view, readers only slowly discover the true reason the children live such a controlled existence inside Haven Hospital & Halls, established in 2020. They have an excellent diet and eat prodigious amounts of food. The facility includes a good school with caring Teachers. Principal Harrison may be stern, but he appears to care for them. They have nice rooms, shared with a few other children, and lovely grounds. They may not, however, leave. Frequently, during their dining-hall lunches, Dr. King calls for a child by name. That child then goes to Treatment, sometimes to return, sometimes not. Blissfully ignorant Shiloh drops clues as to the hospital’s true purpose for readers, and eventually, even she learns the truth and joins a group of student rebels. Williams, who is developing quite a varied repertoire, manages the information meted out by her deluded narrator with great skill. The simple but gripping focus on only one aspect of her dystopia sheds light on a moral question that young readers will have no difficulty answering: Are all people created equal—or not?
Deliciously enigmatic. (Dystopian thriller. 12 & up)