For most teenagers, fitting in is a high priority. But for some, remaining independent is even more important.
Jennza and the rest of her born-mates have been raised knowing that when they turn 15 they’ll be chosen by one of ShareHaven’s families. They’ll receive the memories of a family member lost to an accident, bringing that person back to life. Most are eager to take their place in society, hoping to be chosen for a life already proven productive and happy, welcomed back by parents, siblings, spouses, and offspring. But for Jennza, the Celebraze isn’t a happy occasion; it’s a fearful one. Once chosen, she’ll have to give up her memories…and aren’t her memories what make her unique? Jennza’s always been a bit curious, a bit different, someone who likes to climb fences and explore by the sea. She’s even found a new creature she’s adopted as her pet, Petal, part sea creature, part lizard, all playful affection. Jennza is sure there’s more to the world and to life. Singleton’s plot treads familiar genre ground, from world-specific vocabulary, much of it capitalized, to a first-person, present-tense narration that’s frequently expository. Racial categories do not seem to exist, and characters’ skin color tends to be described only when it’s nonwhite.
This familiar-feeling novel nevertheless takes a different look at the cost of conformity and the price of independence. (Science fiction. 12-16)