THE ONLY THING TO FEAR by Caroline Tung Richmond


Age Range: 12 - 15
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That 20th-century speculative-fiction staple, the what-if-Hitler-won-the-war alternate history, meets 21st-century special-girl dystopia.

It’s been almost a century since the Axis powers divided a conquered North America among them: Japan in the west, Germany in the east, and Italy in the Dakotas. In the Nazi-controlled Shenandoah Valley, 16-year-old half-Japanese Zara is an Untermensch, a half-breed fit only for scut work. Though she works all hours as both a janitor and a farm girl, Zara desperately wants Uncle Red to allow her to join the Revolutionary Alliance, the anti-Nazi underground. But her uncle, still grieving the death of Zara’s mother in an Alliance mission gone wrong, is determined to protect her. Besides, he argues, it’s vital that Zara hide her Anomaly power—superpowers the Nazis developed in their death camps that allowed them to win the war. Only Aryans are allowed to be Anomalies; if the Nazis learn Zara can control wind with her mind, she’ll be headed to a dreadful fate. Along with an Aryan child of privilege who wants to join the rebellion, Zara must do the unthinkable and save the world. Though these Nazis are oddly restrained in their evil compared to the real thing (they haven’t tried to ethnically cleanse North America, for one), they make for believable dictatorial overlords.

Overall, a satisfying and appropriately hectic action adventure with a perfectly likable if interchangeable (but for her biracial heritage) protagonist. (Dystopian adventure. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-62988-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2014


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