DEVIANTS

From the Dust Chronicles series , Vol. 1

This first installment in an interesting new post-apocalyptic dystopian series finds the Earth choked with dust that creates paranormal abilities in some humans.

Sixteen-year-old Glory has hidden her paraplegic little brother Drake from the tyrannical authorities in their domed city for three years, ever since her father murdered their mother. Glory has the ability to kill by merely looking into the eyes of her victims, making her a Deviant and therefore, an outlaw subject to death by expulsion from the dome. The population of Haven comprises mostly “employees,” who live on meager rations, and “Management,” who enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. When Glory’s longtime heartthrob, who has just joined the cruel authorities, shows up with his new colleagues outside her tiny, windowless apartment, Glory and Drake escape with Burn, a rebel sent by her dreaded father. They must fight their way through the deathtrap surrounding the dome to get to uncontaminated lands Glory never knew existed. McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing throughout most of the novel, with new challenges constantly confronting the teens. In the opening scene, Glory hunts rats for food, bringing her bleak world clearly into focus. Glory’s ever-present mistrust, while understandable, begins to grate as she continually makes poor choices that increase the danger long after it becomes clear to readers that Burn is one of the good guys, but her contrition helps to set up the sequel. Exciting, if hardly groundbreaking. (Dystopian suspense. 12-16) 

 

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-6121-8367-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful.

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SALT TO THE SEA

January 1945: as Russians advance through East Prussia, four teens’ lives converge in hopes of escape.

Returning to the successful formula of her highly lauded debut, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys combines research (described in extensive backmatter) with well-crafted fiction to bring to life another little-known story: the sinking (from Soviet torpedoes) of the German ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Told in four alternating voices—Lithuanian nurse Joana, Polish Emilia, Prussian forger Florian, and German soldier Alfred—with often contemporary cadences, this stints on neither history nor fiction. The three sympathetic refugees and their motley companions (especially an orphaned boy and an elderly shoemaker) make it clear that while the Gustloff was a German ship full of German civilians and soldiers during World War II, its sinking was still a tragedy. Only Alfred, stationed on the Gustloff, lacks sympathy; almost a caricature, he is self-delusional, unlikable, a Hitler worshiper. As a vehicle for exposition, however, and a reminder of Germany’s role in the war, he serves an invaluable purpose that almost makes up for the mustache-twirling quality of his petty villainy. The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn’t change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning.

Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful. (author’s note, research and sources, maps) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16030-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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