Remake

Ilima Todd. Shadow Mountain, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60907-924-6
A familiar duality forms the basis of Todd’s dystopian debut: sterile technology versus gritty, back-to-the-earth primitivism. Nine is a product of the former, “Made” as part of a Batch of 20 “new humans” and raised by Fosterers as an infantilized androgyne. Now nearly 17, Nine is on the brink of her Remake, when she may choose her gender, appearance, and profession and be launched as a full-fledged adult in Freedom One (formerly Sydney, Australia). That she has been denied her first choice of occupation and advised that she is, in some mysterious way, “an experiment,” is shadowing her excitement. Meanwhile, Kai has been raised in a nuclear family that survives by farming and fishing, with labor divided by traditional gender roles. He distrusts technology to the point of paranoia, which makes for a rocky start when Nine and Kai inevitably collide. Todd does little to complicate the simplicity of this opposition or substantively explore the issues of gender identity she raises, but Nine is still an endearing character, endlessly questioning the existential choices she confronts. Ages 12–up. Agent: Katherine Boyle, Veritas Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/18/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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