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Margaret Stohl. Little, Brown, $18 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-20518-4

This first solo effort from Stohl, who burst on the scene as coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures series, is a dystopian vision of occupation by the Lords, who can kill with an electrical pulse. Climate change had already submerged population centers, and weapons of mass destruction contaminated the planet, when aliens landed in the late 21st-century. Through human Ambassadors, the Lords rule vast conurbations like the Hole, the remains of Los Angeles. Some humans persist beyond the Lords’ range, living in the Grass as subsistence farmers. Dol and Ro, survivors of the initial attack, are special: Dol for her extreme empathy, and Ro for his berserker rage. A man called the Padre has kept them on the Mission, alive but ignorant, for 16 years; when he is murdered by government thugs, the teens’ struggle to survive goes hand in hand with self-discovery. Stohl’s world is a stereotypical totalitarian state, but Dol’s narrative voice is particularly vivid; the here-and-now character development, if not the SF trappings, will keep readers engrossed. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (May)