SHADOW STATE by Elyse Brayden


Age Range: 12 - 15
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Less than two weeks before the launch of her mother’s revolutionary new drug, high school junior Brynn receives a series of texts that suggest that Cortexia, the PTSD wonder treatment, has other, sinister, applications.

It has been months since Brynn’s emotional breakdown following a painful breakup, but with antidepressants, a new boyfriend, and college aspirations, the future looks bright. But when Brynn starts remembering things that suggest her hazy memories of the last year are not simply due to her emotional trauma, she begins searching for answers. Forged drug trials, dirty funding, and shadowy backers are just some of what she finds. Brynn’s spotty memories make her an unreliable narrator. Unfortunately, she is more frustrating than intriguing. The relationship between Brynn and her boyfriend, Dex, is devoid of real feeling, and her interactions with her parents are wooden. This scientific thriller fails on many levels. A predictable villain, a bumbling lab technician, and a driven and distracted mother are only a sampling of the cliché characters populating the story. The promising concept is burdened by isolated events that do little to advance the plot or add to the mystery. Finally, the bizarre ending robs the story of hope or meaning. Other than a smattering of ethnic diversity in the school, the cast is exclusively white.

Uninspired, meandering, and devoid of intrigue. (author’s note) (Mystery. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-12423-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Imprint
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2018


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