Mafi combines a psychological opener with an action-adventure denouement in her YA debut, and the result is a page-turner with a slightly split personality. Juliette Ferrars is 17 and cannot remember a loving touch; indeed, after 264 days in solitary confinement, she can barely remember human contact. Then a boy is shoved into her cell, and her world changes. Just as she begins to trust Adam, guards burst in and march them off to the commandant. Juliette discovers Adam is really a soldier of the Reestablishment, a totalitarian regime that wants to use Juliette because her touch can kill. Juliette wants to get far away from anyone she can hurt or who can hurt her—though she can’t help hoping that, somehow, Adam might not fall in either of those categories. Mafi doesn’t escape some rookie pitfalls; descriptions like “fifteen thousand feelings of disbelief hole-punched in my heart” strain after lyricism, and proof that the divided plot can be brought to a satisfying conclusion must await later installments. Nevertheless, this is a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2011 Release date: 11/01/2011 Genre: Children's
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