In this smart and fresh supernatural take on the spy novel, it’s 1963, and the Soviet Union and United States are deep into the Cold War, with spycraft a necessary trade on both sides. Yulia Andreevna Chernina, 17, has the unfortunate luck of getting scooped up by the psychic branch of the KGB for her ability to “read” the past when she touches an object. She is quickly swept into a world of Soviet spies, imprisoned in a house with other similarly gifted young men and women, all conscripted to unearth top-secret information from the Americans. Though Yulia yearns for escape and reunite with her family, she also learns valuable skills from the KGB’s psychic guardians, including how to shield her mind from other psychics through music. Debut novelist Smith’s background in foreign affairs and Russian culture shines through in the historical context of her story and the political savvy of her characters and plot. As one character puts it: “Space, weapons, psychics. Arms races, all of them, going nowhere.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Mandy Hubbard, D4EO Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/17/2014 Release date: 04/01/2014 Genre: Children's
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