The Selected

Patrick Cave, S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4169-1573-7
Cave's "sequel and prequel" to Sharp North (2009) tells two stories back to back. Dom lives in a near-future Britain ravaged by drastic climate change, its leaders devising radical plans to stay in power. Adeline is a clone living generations later in the world those leaders created, but she knows Dom through his diary—the split narrative alternates between Dom's entries and Adeline's experiences. Dom's old school was the staging ground of a military regimen for the children of prominent parents, and he describes the battery of endurance tests he undergoes to determine if his material will be selected for cloning; he also writes about his love for a girl named Ruth. Caught up in the new "madness" sweeping a genetic engineering–obsessed Britain, Adeline leaves the relative safety of her enclave to participate a game show called "Fit to Live," where losing can be fatal. In so doing she becomes the nation's new fixation. Both of Cave's futures are stark and plausible, and his prose is nuanced and driven by urgency. While complex, this can be read as a standalone novel, offering a potent message about confronting the chilling effects of abusive power. Ages 14–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Genre: Children's
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