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A quick, exciting read that will appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic tales.

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In this dystopian New Adult thriller, a woman bred to donate her body parts must flee her oppressive society before they can take her heart.

Seventeen-year-old “donor” Joan Lion has spent her entire life keeping in top athletic shape—not for her own career but for another’s. She periodically supplies parts of her superior muscles and organs to superstar athlete and Governor’s daughter Tegan Gates, one of the Alliance’s most privileged citizens. Joan peacefully trains and provides this “tax” in the hope that she’ll eventually earn enough money to purchase her own citizenship and leave her donor status behind. However, when she learns that the Governor wants to take her strong heart and lungs to further enhance his daughter’s physical capabilities, she flees for her life. She’s chased by Tax Enforcement Officer Nox, a single-minded, rule-abiding man who was responsible for Joan’s mother’s arrest and execution eight months earlier. Joan finds help in surprising places and must decide whether to actively take part in the rebellion brewing against the Alliance. If the dark cloning-for-organs plotline of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) mated with an action-packed young-adult thriller such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008), the result would resemble Beatty’s debut. Joan, in particular, bears a remarkable resemblance to Katniss Everdeen, from her athletic talents to her involuntary rise as poster child of a rebellion to her involvement in a love triangle that forces her to choose between a childhood friend and a new romantic interest. Joan comes across as frustratingly stubborn and blind to the truth at times, but these faults make her less superhuman and more relatable. Although some plot twists may be a bit too obvious, Joan’s story will still keep readers hooked to the very end.

A quick, exciting read that will appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic tales.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1484933176

Page Count: 274

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2013

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Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

As Ireland devolves into a brutal police state, one woman tries to preserve her family in this stark fable.

For Eilish Stack, a molecular biologist living with her husband and four children in Dublin, life changes all at once and then slowly worsens beyond imagining. Two men appear at her door one night, agents of the new secret police, seeking her husband, Larry, a union official. Soon he is detained under the Emergency Powers Act recently pushed through by the new ruling party, and she cannot contact him. Eilish sees things shifting at work to those backing the ruling party. The state takes control of the press, the judiciary. Her oldest son receives a summons to military duty for the regime, and she tries to send him to Northern Ireland. He elects to join the rebel forces and soon she cannot contact him, either. His name and address appear in a newspaper ad listing people dodging military service. Eilish is coping with her father’s growing dementia, her teenage daughter’s depression, the vandalizing of her car and house. Then war comes to Dublin as the rebel forces close in on the city. Offered a chance to flee the country by her sister in Canada, Eilish can’t abandon hope for her husband’s and son’s returns. Lynch makes every step of this near-future nightmare as plausible as it is horrific by tightly focusing on Eilish, a smart, concerned woman facing terrible choices and losses. An exceptionally gifted writer, Lynch brings a compelling lyricism to her fears and despair while he marshals the details marking the collapse of democracy and the norms of daily life. His tonal control, psychological acuity, empathy, and bleakness recall Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006). And Eilish, his strong, resourceful, complete heroine, recalls the title character of Lynch’s excellent Irish-famine novel, Grace (2017).

Captivating, frightening, and a singular achievement.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780802163011

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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An unrelentingly dark and disquieting look at the way societies conform to committing atrocities.

A processing plant manager struggles with the grim realities of a society where cannibalism is the new normal.

Marcos Tejo is the boss’s son. Once, that meant taking over his father’s meat plant when the older man began to suffer from dementia and require nursing home care. But ever since the Transition, when animals became infected with a virus fatal to humans and had to be destroyed, society has been clamoring for a new source of meat, laboring under the belief, reinforced by media and government messaging, that plant proteins would result in malnutrition and ill effects. Now, as is true across the country, Marcos’ slaughterhouse deals in “special meat”—human beings. Though Marcos understands the moral horror of his job supervising the workers who stun, kill, flay, and butcher other humans, he doesn’t feel much since the crib death of his infant son. “One can get used to almost anything,” he muses, “except for the death of a child.” One day, the head of a breeding center sends Marcos a gift: an adult female FGP, a “First Generation Pure,” born and bred in captivity. As Marcos lives with his product, he gradually begins to awaken to the trauma of his past and the nightmare of his present. This is Bazterrica’s first novel to appear in America, though she is widely published in her native Argentina, and it could have been inelegant, using shock value to get across ideas about the inherent brutality of factory farming and the cruelty of governments and societies willing to sacrifice their citizenry for power and money. It is a testament to Bazterrica’s skill that such a bleak book can also be a page-turner.

An unrelentingly dark and disquieting look at the way societies conform to committing atrocities.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982150-92-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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