Olson offers a vision of a bleak, uncertain future.
Ever since the Wolfpack took over and threw everyone who was against them into work camps, life has been constant pain, hunger, and fear. With her father dead, present-tense narrator Eden is alone with nothing to lose and only dreams of freedom to keep her going. When she finally manages to escape her captors, it is with three other girls, Finnley, Alexa, and Hope. With nowhere else to go, the girls seek out and find the fabled Sanctuary, a safe, neutral island—but when Finnley disappears, it soon becomes clear that this is no safe place. When she mysteriously reappears with three boys in tow, the girls find themselves in the middle of a plot to overthrow the Wolfpack. For Eden, this new challenge is also an opportunity to delve deeper into her father’s death and the twisted world he helped create. Overlaid with Eden’s memories, hopes, and lost dreams, the novel is in turns wistful and poetic. It touches on issues such as the unequal distribution of wealth and power in a world with dwindling resources, but aspects of this world’s society and technological advances feel undefined. Finnley and Hope are white, Alexa is Asian, and Eden, although she doesn’t describe herself, speaks from a white default.
Filled with interesting characters and difficult scenarios, this debut is designed to leave readers thinking. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 14-18)