cover image After the Red Rain

After the Red Rain

Barry Lyga, with Peter Facinelli and Robert DeFranco. Little, Brown, $18 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-40603-1

In the far-off future, humankind has so ravaged the planet that plants and other life forms are nearly extinct. While a corrupt government exercises control over its remaining citizens, a strange boy named Rose turns up in 16-year-old Deedra’s home territory and inspires a quiet uprising that has her questioning everything, from the machines she builds at her factory job to the news provided via “wikinet” feed. The dystopian setting bears disturbing similarities to the modern world, serving as a cautionary tale about our own lasting impact on the planet. While the authors paint a frighteningly believable landscape, the characters remain opaque. Deedra, forced to be independent since her orphanage shut down when she was 12, becomes suddenly and inextricably dependent on Rose soon after meeting him. Their magnetic attraction also comes at a cost to Deedra’s heretofore best friend, Lissa, who—despite her own harrowing subplot—is all but forgotten. Loose ends and unanswered questions leave room for future books. Ages 15–up. Agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary Management, and Steve Fisher, APA Talent and Literary Agency. (Aug.)