Ink

Alice Broadway. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-19699-3
An urgent fear of otherness permeates Broadway’s eerie debut, set in a society where tattoos tell a person’s life story and to be without them is to be unknowable. In Saintstone, lawbreakers are marked and publicly shamed, babies who die before getting their first tattoo are forgotten, and so-called “blanks” (whose bodies are free of tattoos) are loathed. Sixteen-year-old Leora’s father is dead, his skin dried and bound into a book; she must unravel her family’s secrets before the community’s elders make a determination that he is to be forgotten, and the pages of his book burned. Through it’s not fully clear why tattoos and skin books are the only ways a person can be remembered in this world, Broadway uses her unsettling premise to contemplate grief and loss, attempts to neatly categorize people and decisions as right or wrong, and the courage to push against norms in ways big and small. As Leora enters the adult world as an apprentice inker, Broadway elegantly depicts her discoveries and the way power can become manipulative, controlling, and deceptive. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/18/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Book - 978-1-338-19700-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-338-33169-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5094-6709-9
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