Pulse

Patrick Carman. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-208576-4
Carman (the Dark Eden series) mixes high school drama with mutations and conspiracies in this impressive take on the postapocalyptic novel. In the near-future wasteland between the giant Eastern and Western States, the remaining teenagers attend sparsely populated schools, ordering goods and taking classes piped in from the States on their networked Tablets. If they decide to emigrate, they are given free transportation to one of the States and cut off from the network. When Faith Daniels’s school is consolidated into another one, she and her friend and fellow junior Liz meet attractive and dangerous twins Clara and Wade. Faith also discovers her “pulse,” a rare power that gives her telekinesis. After Liz’s family emigrates, Faith gets caught up in what could be the beginning of a war. Carman’s world-building doesn’t stand up to scrutiny (too many social structures appear designed to enable plot points), but the character-driven action should keep readers invested. A large but well-developed cast and some grim turns of events keep the story moving and lay groundwork for the next book in this planned trilogy. Ages 13–up. Agent: Peter Rubie, FinePrint Literary Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 02/01/2013
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