Joelle Charbonneau. HarperTeen, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-280362-7
In this dystopian thriller set in America nearly a century from now, a young woman discovers lies undermining her community when she seeks to complete her late mother’s unfinished paintings. Meri Beckley, 16, just wants to become a government-approved artist and to work in Chicago’s City Pride Department. But after a stranger entrusts her with a piece of paper, use of which has become heavily discouraged for environmental reasons, with the word “verify” (a term that is not recognized by society) on it, Meri begins a search for meaning that leads to an underground society of scholars dedicated to remembering the time before the U.S. government banned books, rewrote history, and erased subversive words, such as “diversity,” “vulnerable,” and “entitlement.” But while the Stewards would rather hide away and avoid detection, Meri is determined to fight back and reveal the truth to the world at any cost. Charbonneau (the Testing trilogy) delivers a tense duology opener focusing on the dangers of censorship and the power of information. Despite a strong, entertaining story line and engaging characters, though, this hits multiple well-worn beats made familiar by its genre predecessors. Ages 13–up. Agent: Stacia Decker, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/30/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-280364-1
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