cover image The Glass Arrow

The Glass Arrow

Kristen Simmons. Tor Teen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3661-3

This grim cautionary tale opens taut and suspenseful, with its heroine being hunted down like an animal, her adopted family slaughtered and scattered. Fifteen-year-old Aya, raised a free female in the wilderness outside the capitol city of Glasscaster, is taken to the “Garden” to be groomed and sold at auction, valuable primarily for her breeding potential. Determined and resourceful, Aya fights daily for her freedom, making herself unsuitable for auction while plotting to save her remaining family from assimilation into a nightmarish patriarchy. Her only ally is one of the mute, Roma-like, “Drivers”—a boy she names Kiran who first tries to kill her and then risks everything for her. A world where girls and women are commodities to be sold and resold is frightening enough; more chilling are the girls who embrace their fate or the women who participate in the system for profit and status. However, Simmons (the Article 5 series) invests little in backstory; the origins of this dystopia are murky, and the men tend to be flatly drawn mustache-twirlers. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Brown & Miller Literary Associates. (Feb.)