Half Lives

Sara Grant, Author
Sara Grant. Little, Brown, $18 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-19493-8
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Grant (Dark Parties) mines fresh material from the dystopian genre through an intriguing scenario and approach to the form. In the present day, 17-year-old Icie’s normal life is disrupted when her government advisor parents alert her to a biological threat and tell her to get to a shelter outside Las Vegas. En route, she encounters a perky, bald cheerleader named Marissa; young casino heir Tate; and a Native American teen named Chaske. Alternating with Icie’s tale is the story of a mountain cult in the future, in which teenagers like Beckett and Harper face the mysteries of the same base Icie and her friends are running toward, as well as their own connections to her world. Grant’s choice to tell two stories simultaneously works quite well, glimpses of each world hinting at the other (even before readers meet Marissa, for example, they know there’s a class of people in the future called “Cheerleaders”). Each story line stands on its own, but together they form a thought-provoking study of faith, misunderstanding, and survival. Ages 15–up. Agent: Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Associates. (July)■
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