cover image Expiration Day

Expiration Day

William Campbell Powell. Tor Teen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3828-0

It’s 2049, and with most of humanity rendered mysteriously infertile, immaculately realistic robotic children called teknoids serve as outlets for adults’ stymied parental urges. Tania Deeley grows up believing she’s one of the few human children left. First-time novelist Powell gets the obvious twist—that Tania herself is a teknoid—out of the way early, focusing instead on the dilemmas that result. If Tania isn’t a real person, why can she perform music, grieve the dead, and even fall in love? And what happens to Tania when her parents’ 18-year lease on her ends? This story covers an unusually long span of time and comes out the stronger for it. The chatty 11-year-old who begins this diary-style novel is very different from the determined 17-year-old who ends it, but the transition is natural, and the essence of Tania’s voice stays true. Sometimes the exposition gets clunky, as in a weighty testimony about teknoid history and neurobiology toward the end of the book, but Tania’s creativity, pathos, and personality prove that she’s just as much a person as any flesh-and-blood human. Ages 13–up. (Apr.)