In Yewess, an alternate America where money (called munmun) dictates one’s physical size, 14-year-old Warner, his older sister Prayer, and their disabled mother (all rat-size “littlepoors”) are barely surviving; the siblings’ father was crushed when someone stepped on their house. Warner finds some solace in the communal slumberland of Dreamworld, where everyone is “middlescale.” The siblings set off with their friend Usher to find a rich husband for Prayer, but their journey is fraught with indignities and danger (“If we just all stick together then no one’s getting facechewed by a rat today,” says Warner as they set out). After being jailed, Warner is freed when a young woman named Kitty makes him her pet project; her wealthy father offers him a chance at success, but “scaling up” comes with a price. In a brash and wildly inventive novel, Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) effectively uses a gonzo alternate reality to frame urgent issues that include income inequality, rampant consumerism, and class disparity. Warner may be small, but his giant heart and brutally honest narration propel this intense, cuttingly funny novel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claudia Ballard, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/05/2018 Release date: 04/03/2018 Genre: Children's
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