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WONDER RUSH by Dan   McKeon


by Dan McKeon

Pub Date: April 27th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-73713-250-9
Publisher: Hush Moss Press

Brainwashed teens commit crimes on behalf of a shadowy organization in McKeon’s debut YA thriller.

High school student Wendy Lockheart isn’t quite feeling like herself, as she hasn’t killed anyone in almost two and a half weeks—but that’s quickly remedied when she poisons a predatory pedophile. It’s soon revealed that she’s a highly trained assassin who works for a shady organization known as “the agency.” Soon Wendy, an orphan, will be spirited off to another foster home with a new name, a new identity, and a new victim; she receives packs of Wonder Rush Happy Funtime Bubblegum with instructions about her targets. She’s not thrilled about leaving, because things were beginning to click with her new pal, Amaya, a free-spirited teen anarchist. The agency requires its network of killer teens to blend in, remain quiet, and forgo personal relationships. But as Wendy matures, she begins to think that murder and secrecy aren’t for her, but she knows that her handlers aren’t afraid to use violence to keep their charges in line. Wendy’s next assignment prompts her to go rogue and expose the agency—and uncover her own identity. To her surprise, she finds she’s not the only disgruntled employee. Over the course of McKeon’s novel, Wendy sloughs off violent encounters with blithe wisecracks and a sense of aplomb that’s worthy of 007, but she’s also effectively shown to have the ability to inflict serious bodily damage—even if it’s not on the official schedule. However, she encounters so many covert operatives (good and bad) that readers can’t help but get the impression that coincidence is an important theme of the novel. McKeon gives an intriguing hint of things to come when Wendy tells her foster brother, who likes coloring books, that “the best things in life happen outside the lines.” Overall, the story rewards attention, as it not only shows how the agency taught Wendy tenacity and problem-solving, but also how she he taught herself mercy—and how she uses them all to get answers.

A pack of tasty bubble gum that one should open without hesitation.