cover image Metaltown


Kristen Simmons. Tor Teen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3662-0

Loyalties are tested and family bonds are stretched in Simmons's complex tale of friendships forged in necessity, set in a grim future. Tri-City is an outpost of civilization in the wake of war, disease, and famine; teenagers Ty and Colin work in a munitions factory in Metaltown, the most hardscrabble part of the city. In Metaltown, everyone must work, but that work doesn't guarantee a paycheck: hunger and desperation are a way of life. Lena, daughter of the factory owner, is kept out of harm's way in the River District, desperate for her father's approval and something to believe in. After meeting Colin and seeing the conditions in which he and Ty work, Lena finds her cause, even as Colin takes it upon himself to improve conditions from the inside. Through the story can sometimes get lost as it draws in elements of romance, social justice, mystery, and corruption, Simmons (The Glass Arrow) paints a visceral portrait of inequality while using themes of connectedness and collaboration to pull the story's seemingly disparate parts together. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Sept.)