cover image Atlantia


Ally Condie. Dutton, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-42644-8

Rio Conwy has lived her whole life in Atlantia, a city built underwater to preserve the human race after the atmosphere became filled with toxic pollution. Rio had always planned to go Above and join the workers who support and feed the Atlantians, but she promised her twin sister, Bay, she would stay after their mother died. When Bay betrays their agreement and abandons her, Rio plots, plans, and trains to make her own escape. As a further complication, Rio is secretly a siren, with a voice that compels obedience; if she’s found out, she’ll be forced to serve the Atlantian Council and never find out why Bay left. Condie (the Matched trilogy) pulls together many interesting ideas that don’t hold up to close examination. While the author’s fans will enjoy the immersive prose and gentle romance, newcomers may be impatient with the unsympathetic characters and lack of action. Overall, this standalone story is like a problematic trilogy in one book—a catchy opening leading to a slow journey and an unexpected finale that brings in bewildering new elements and works hard to wrap everything up. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Oct.)