CATALYST by Lydia Kang


Age Range: 12 - 18
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In a dystopian future, a breed of genetically altered humans struggles for freedom and survival.

In this engrossing sequel to Control (2013), the safe house for a small group of genetically altered teens is invaded. Eighteen-year-old Zelia and a handful of others barely escape the police raid. In order to go into hiding again, Zelia and her boyfriend, Cy, volunteer for a breeding program called Inky. Instead of finding safety, however, they are imprisoned there with other experimental humans. Inky is controlled by a sadistic scientist with a split personality—literally—who wants to profit from their DNA. Unknowingly, Zelia is the keeper of the secret list of genetic codes, the recipe of every child made by her father, making her a most treasured captive. Like futuristic Frankenstein’s monsters, these fugitives are outcasts, their DNA stitched and switched to create better humans. She herself has the longevity trait, and Cy can cause pain psychokinetically. Once again they make a run for it, and the group dashes from hardscrabble place to place, always hunted and hated. Kang spins an evenly paced and thought-provoking story, employing symbolism deftly: Narnia-like, greenery re-emerges as the genetic misfits stop running to take a stand.

Kang wraps up her duology neatly and satisfyingly, but the intrigue lingers—which is also satisfying. (Dystopian suspense. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 24th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8037-4093-8
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Kathy Dawson/Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015


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