The last thing Claudia McCarthy wanted was power—that is, until she had some.
After years of being teased for her limp and her speech impediment, Claudia enters her new high school, Imperial Day Academy, with only one goal in mind: to be as invisible as possible. That is, until her mortal enemy, the powerful Honor Council member Livia Drusus, orders her to run for Student Senate, thereby thrusting Claudia into the spotlight. Against all odds, Claudia wins her election and, after uncovering a financial scandal within the current Senate, becomes vice president. As Claudia becomes more and more powerful, she begins to question the motivations of everyone around her—including her own. This retelling of the novel I, Claudius (1934) is a gripping political thriller told through a complex narrator whose facility for coldhearted political calculation is exceeded only by her capacity for self-doubt. Claudia is white, and the story features a diverse set of characters who are neither immune to the impact of nor entirely defined by their race, queerness, or physical ability. This narratorial approach is particularly refreshing when it comes to Claudia: Most notably, unlike the majority of disabled characters in young adult fiction, Claudia falls in (reciprocated) love with a popular, nondisabled student.
A disturbing, suspenseful coming-of-age story about power, corruption, and the choices we make both for ourselves and the ones we love. (Thriller. 16-adult)