cover image Unchosen


Katharyn Blair. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-0626-5764-0

In this near-future dystopia with a largely female cast, humankind inadvertently unleashes the Crimson, a viruslike curse that causes the end of the world as it is known. Several years later, Charlotte feels invisible between her two sisters: older Harlow, the fierce military commander of the siblings’ postapocalyptic Malibu community, and younger, athletically talented Vanessa, who is prophesied to be the Chosen One who will end the Crimson. Pretending to be the Chosen One herself to protect Vanessa, Charlotte begins to develop self-confidence and unravels a conspiracy behind the virus’s spread. While fast-paced action and romantic tension make up the bulk of the story, and an incident of queer pain seems unnecessary, Blair deftly uses her dystopian framework to amplify issues of sexism, classism, and racism, as well as explore the tension between moral responsibility and survival. The Crimson lays bare many of this society’s flaws, as the rich and powerful are able to escape its worst consequences at the expense of the vulnerable. Strengthened by a female protagonist whose insecurities ring true and whose growth is hard-won, this relevant adventure is sure to interest socially conscious fantasy fans. Ages 14–up. Agents: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Jan.)