Dark Parties

Sara Grant. Little, Brown, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-08594-6
Sixteen-year-old Neva lives in Homeland, a country protected by an electrified dome called the Protecto-sphere. Shut away, the population becomes more homogenous and inbred, and their resources dwindle. Neva's grandmother believed there was still life outside the dome, but she disappeared 10 years ago and now heads Neva's "List of The Missing," a roster that grows daily. At a "dark party," a gathering in total darkness, Neva and her friend Sanna incite their peers to rebel and demand the opening of the Protectosphere, but the revolution fizzles, and Neva is taken in for questioning. Assigned to a new job, Neva is determined to uncover the truth, and she learns Homeland's ugly secrets at great cost. Aside from Neva, Grant's characters don't evoke sympathy or empathy, and dystopia fans will find many recycled concepts, even harking back to Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Heavy-handed terminology and imagery (e.g., the inherent individuality of a snowflake) let down this dark examination of governmental control. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
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