Set in a near-future United States where the oil crisis has resulted in food rationing and energy restrictions, Etienne's debut is a dark, dramatic, but uneven call for ecological balance. Sixteen-year-old Faye Robson suffers from hallucinations, nightmares, and insomnia, and she can see secrets in people's minds by touching them. Her parents send her to Holbrook Academy on a Maine island, a school promoted as a caring place for troubled youth, which is actually a harsh and violent prison where the teens are mentally and physically tormented for the slightest transgression. When Faye and her assigned "Family" wake up every morning on the floor with their hands stained red and no memory of what's happened, she begins to connect current events to recovered memories of her childhood. Clues lead her to a century-old prophecy written in blood that predicts the coming of the Harbinger, a force that will wash the world clean, prompting Faye's resolve to stop the destruction of humanity. Tense and well-paced, Etienne's novel effectively draws in readers, but melodrama and mysticism lead to an overwrought and puzzling climax. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012 Release date: 02/01/2012 Genre: Children's
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