Genre: Young adult, science fiction
My Synopsis: A virus wipes out most of the U.S. population before a suppressant is found for it. Each state gathers its surviving citizens into one walled city to give them the suppressant each day. Nevada, which has only 15-20,000 survivors, brings them all into Reno. The story starts 16 years later with teen survivors Clover and her brother West. The Company (founded by the suppressant creators) and the government run everything. Most of the residents work for one or the other after they finish school; they are paid in ration coupons. West works on a cantaloupe farm for the government but hopes to get a job as a guard for the Company. Clover hopes to go to the Academy but instead is “drafted” to be a time traveler. One of her trips to the future reveals her brother is in danger and leads them to a group of runaway foster kids in the present. They all begin to learn what has really been going on.
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin)
Format and Number of Pages: Paperback, 315 pages
Where to Find: Sundance Books, Barnes & Noble, online, etc.
How Much Read: All
Comments: I don’t read either YA or science fiction, but I bought and read the book because I like the author on Twitter. Some of the things that kept me reading: Clover’s autism, which is an important part of the plot; presidential quotes, most of which I’d never heard before; and scenes of Reno and Lake Tahoe in a dystopian future. The Company office building and the bazaar where the workers exchange their coupons for their rations are in former casinos across from each other on Virginia Street. Children orphaned by the virus had been moved into foster homes set up in a gated community built just before the housing bust and never lived in. The runaway foster kids live unnoticed in a vacant casino hotel a distance from downtown. Bears are a concern for anyone going outside the wall.
The book raises and answers many questions, leaving new ones unanswered at the end. The story continues in the second book in the series, Rebel Nation, which has just been released. Grimes will sign and read it at Sundance Books and Music next Sunday, July 6, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.