cover image Beneath the Shine

Beneath the Shine

Sarah Fine. Skyscape, $9.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2327-9

In this uneven thriller, set in late-21st-century America and loosely inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, two teens alternately oppose and support one another amid the chaos of terrorist attacks and increased governmental control. Seventeen-year-old vid blogger Marguerite Singer is known for helping the new president win the election during a divisive campaign regarding wealth inequality and subsidized technology, which puts her at odds with the technocrats who run Washington, D.C. At Marguerite’s new school, she meets the flamboyant, fashion-obsessed Percy Blake. After terrorists strike and the city is put on lockdown, the two are swept up in a new reign of terror—someone is smuggling technocrats out of the city ahead of the authorities; Marguerite has to find out who, and how Percy is involved. Fine (The Imposter Queen) doesn’t play it subtle with this story; the parallels between this future America and current events are blatant, as are elements taken from the source material. It’s a fast-paced, intense story, with engaging characters and an intriguing premise, but it’s weighed down by frequent and heavy-handed political, social, and economic debates. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Kathleen Ortiz, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Apr.) [/em]