cover image Andra


Louise Lawrence. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (229pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023685-4

In this grim futuristic tale, a restricted society inhabits regimented subterranean cities to escape Earth's climatic changes. To restore her damaged sight, Andra, a teenager, receives a brain graft from a boy who died in 1987. The transplant gives her disturbing visual memories of a green Earth, and she becomes a leader among the rebellious youth. Andra's vision--a powerful metaphor--could also help her city colonize an improbably Earth-like planet, but a saboteur destroys the space fleet. In an arbitrary and downbeat ending, Andra is killed at the scene. As is often true of dystopian fiction, Sub-city One echoes our reality, from its conflict with the vaguely Soviet Uralia to the sometimes puzzling British slang. There is also the expected warning, but here Lawrence ( The Warriors of Taan ) seems unsure of her message. Is rebellion necessarily a futile, though romantic gesture? The body of the book says otherwise, and thoughtful teens wil find much of interest in spite of the abrupt ending. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)