cover image Gifted


H.A. Swain. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-02830-3

Orpheus Chanson, son of a music mogul, lives in the sparkle of the rich and famous, and his father is pressuring him to get surgery that induces ASA (Acquired Savant Abilities). In Orpheus’s circle, you’re nobody if you don’t have ASA, but he’s conflicted, especially after his sister’s botched surgery. Zimri Robinson lives with her grandmother in a PODPlex, picking and packing items ordered at the touch of a button by those who can afford them. Making music keeps life bearable for Zimri, but it’s a dangerous pastime if she’s discovered. When the two meet, Orpheus is enchanted by her and she seems to like him too, but things are rarely that simple. Unfortunately, Orpheus’s clueless remarks about social inequality, meant to highlight his dawning realization of how the other half lives, are often heavy-handed, and the worldbuilding details are hokey (“The Kardashian SCEWL for Future CelebuTantes posted record high earnings today,” reads one news report). Swain’s (Hungry) story is overwhelmed by unsubtle commentary on consumerism and class, and undermined by one- dimensional characters. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stephanie Rostan, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. (June)