In the year 2193, or 81 Post Melt, a president’s son and a pirate’s daughter reluctantly sail the treacherous seas to rescue a friend.
The future is grim: Natural catastrophes have resculpted the continents, and epidemics have wiped out half of humanity. What used to be inland Sacramento is now the coastal Noram City, the Alliance’s capital, where the wealthy “kanshu” live at a safe elevation and the struggling Shorelings below. To address resource shortages, the president has announced a Relocation Act, ordering 500 people (nearly all Shorelings) to a man-made island, Pacifica. The resulting riots bring together pirate-turned-smuggler Marin with president’s son Ross Torres, both 17, and his friend Adam Baker, son of the vice president. After Adam is abducted, Marin offers Ross her help—for a price. Although it suffers from uneven pacing, the twist-filled story does pick up, exploring a host of political, social, and environmental themes. The cast is ethnically diverse, and the characters’ English is peppered with Spanish, French, and Japanese. A thoughtful author’s note reveals that the story was inspired by her Japanese-American family’s internment during World War II and offers poignant historical context for readers who do not make this connection on their own.
Simmons’ slow-building post-apocalyptic adventure and opposites-attract love story should satisfy readers who miss dystopian romances. (author’s note, suggested reading) (Fiction. 12-17)