The Diary of Pelly D

L. J. Adlington, Author . HarperCollins/Greenwillow $15.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-076615-3

In this story-within-a-story, 14-year-old worker Toni V unearths the diary of the once pampered, popular 15-year-old Pelly D and, through her entries, discovers the disturbing history of the war and ethnic cleansing that led to his job clearing a bombed-out plaza. First novelist Adlington sketches the history of Pelly D's society, the "brave new world [of the] Colonials" on another planet ("No cars, no violent crimes, & five capitals of Cultural Renaissance on this continent alone"). The colony was settled by inhabitants who arrived in spaceships, were bred in test tubes, breathed through gills and valued water as a precious commodity. The author hints at a sinister practice of gene tagging and a rivalry between the Big Three gene families—the Atsumisi, the Galrezi and the Mazzini—early on in the journal. In a plot development that recalls the events of the Holocaust, Pelly D, her mother, brother and sister are branded with a "G" for the despised Galrezi and must leave their luxurious apartment. Her father (a superior Atsumisi) eventually abandons them, and Pelly learns more about the disappearances that foreshadow her own probable end. Readers may become drawn into Pelly D's plight, but Toni V remains more of a lens than a fully formed character. Still, Adlington (whose author bio says she has a "longtime interest in war diaries") offers a futuristic portrait of the prejudice and hierarchies that can lead to atrocities. Ages 13-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/30/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-06-076617-7
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-06-076616-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-4449-0295-2
Paperback - 202 pages - 978-0-340-88213-9
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