In a world where reports of violence have become all too commonplace, life is no longer about building a future; it’s about surviving the day.
Claudia knows something’s not right. Life in post-apocalyptic Nashville is hard. She and her crew have to fight for every scrap of food, every drop of water and whatever shelter they can find. Even so, she finds herself questioning her actions: Just why does she do one thing when her head is telling her to do something entirely different? It isn’t until she is knocked out by a stranger on a raid that she realizes her sixth sense is awakening to a new awareness…she’s being played. The world she’s living in is someone else’s game, and she’s just a character being pushed from one level to the next. Her nightmares aren’t nightmares—they’re memories of a real life that exists outside the game. A stranger named Declan offers her a deal that might help her escape, but can he be trusted? This debut novel reads like a video game, as it is meant to. With an interesting premise and a few likable characters, the tone remains dark and intriguing, Claudia’s present-tense narration appropriately gritty.
Alexander closes with a cliffhanger ending that leaves readers wanting more; here’s hoping the world she’s built sustains multiple volumes. (Science fiction. 14 & up)