Readers willing to go with the flow can look forward to the sequel

READ REVIEW

ROOTLESS

In a blasted, post-apocalyptic future, only three life-forms remain: humans, omnivorous locusts and the bioengineered corn that has become the sole source of food and fuel to civilization’s remnants.

Banyan, 17, makes his living as his dead father did, by fabricating trees from scrap metal. A wealthy landowner commissions him to build a forest, providing as a template a beautiful, yellow-leaved tree tattooed over the torso of his wife. Stranger still, the woman’s daughter shows him a recent photograph of a man—his father!—chained to a living tree. In short order, Banyan and a motley crew—his client’s son and a charismatic pirate girl, joined at various points by the wife, her daughter and the landowner’s Rasta bodyguard—are racing the landowner to the trees. They just have to get past GenTech’s massive cornfields and the locusts that live in them. Howard has a gift for the phantasmagoric image: the killing Surge that is this future’s ocean, the bark Banyan finds growing on a homeless man, the swarm of locusts descending for the kill and more. But he takes huge narrative leaps and skimps on worldbuilding, neglecting to explore this GenTech-controlled economy or where oxygen now comes from. It’s a refreshingly male-oriented world, though, despite the abrupt attraction between Banyan and the pirate that feels chucked in to provide the now-requisite romantic element.

Readers willing to go with the flow can look forward to the sequel . (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-38789-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

SCYTHE

From the Arc of a Scythe series , Vol. 1

Two teens train to be society-sanctioned killers in an otherwise immortal world.

On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty. The vivid and often violent action unfolds slowly, anchored in complex worldbuilding and propelled by political machinations and existential musings. Scythes’ journal entries accompany Rowan’s and Citra’s dual and dueling narratives, revealing both personal struggles and societal problems. The futuristic post–2042 MidMerican world is both dystopia and utopia, free of fear, unexpected death, and blatant racism—multiracial main characters discuss their diverse ethnic percentages rather than purity—but also lacking creativity, emotion, and purpose. Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions.

A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7242-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in...

DEAR MARTIN

In this roller-coaster ride of a debut, the author summons the popular legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. to respond to the recent tragic violence befalling unarmed black men and boys.

Seventeen-year-old black high school senior Justyce McAllister, a full-scholarship student at the virtually all-white Braselton Prep, is the focus. After a bloody run-in with the police when they take his good deed for malice, Justyce seeks meaning in a series of letters with his “homie” Dr. King. He writes, “I thought if I made sure to be an upstanding member of society, I’d be exempt from the stuff THOSE black guys deal with, you know?” While he’s ranked fourth in his graduating class and well-positioned for the Ivy League, Justyce is coming to terms with the fact that there’s not as much that separates him from “THOSE black guys” as he’d like to believe. Despite this, Stone seems to position Justyce and his best friend as the decidedly well-mannered black children who are deserving of readers’ sympathies. They are not those gangsters that can be found in Justyce’s neighborhood. There’s nuance to be found for sure, but not enough to upset the dominant narrative. What if they weren’t the successful kids? While the novel intentionally leaves more questions than it attempts to answer, there are layers that still remain between the lines.

Though constrained, the work nevertheless stands apart in a literature that too often finds it hard to look hard truths in the face. Take interest and ask questions. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93949-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more