cover image The 100

The 100

Kass Morgan. Little, Brown, $18 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-23447-4

Morgan’s ambitious dystopian novel, set to become a TV series on the CW network, starts with 100 teenagers living in a tightly controlled society aboard an orbiting colony; all are facing their 18th birthdays and have been convicted of various offenses. As an alternative to retrial and probable execution, the teens are being sent back to Earth, abandoned centuries earlier when it became too toxic to inhabit. Third-person narration shifts among four teens—three who return to Earth, and one who escaped and remains on the station. The plotting is fast-paced, and the story volleys rapidly between multiple characters, action in the present, and flashbacks, which doesn’t always make for smooth reading. Morgan’s flair for the dramatic (“He tasted like joy, and joy tasted better on Earth”) can be forced, but it’s easy to be drawn in by the Lord of the Flies–style tension that builds as the teens struggle to set up a new society on a battered Earth, and by the smoldering romances that hang in the balance. A last-page cliffhanger sets up the sequel. Ages 15–up. Agent: Sara Shandler and Joelle Hobeika, Alloy Entertainment. (Sept.)