Talker 25

Joshua McCune. Greenwillow, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-212191-2
McCune's debut, first in a planned trilogy, takes place in a near-future America turned into a police state in response to the sudden appearance of intelligent, fire-breathing dragons. Although some of the creatures live peacefully on reservations, others are actively hostile, and the American military would just as soon exterminate all of them. After Melissa Callahan is implicated in a high school prank gone wrong—sneaking onto a reservation to kiss one of the less dangerous dragons—like the protagonist of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, she is quickly trapped in a military bureaucracy gone toxic when it's discovered that she has the rare ability to talk to dragons. She and other children with this talent are imprisoned in Antarctica, without trial or recourse, and tortured until they agree to use their ability to lure dragons to their deaths. McCune's tale can be gritty and painful—many people and dragons, some of whom readers will grow to care about, die in bloody detail; his military villains, though, are one-dimensional and cartoonish. Still, the story packs a significant punch. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-06-212193-6
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-212192-9
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