cover image The Stranded

The Stranded

Sarah Daniels. Sourcebooks Fire, $18.99 (464p) ISBN 978-1-72828-009-7

A group of teens raised in a makeshift quarantine zone long to escape in this near-future dystopian debut from Daniels. Sixteen-year-old white-cued Esther Crossland has grown up amid the harsh rules and social extremes of the Arcadia, a former cruise ship forced to idle in place off the Atlantic coast of what used to be the U.S.A., now the Federated States, after an apocalyptic virus nearly wiped out humankind 40 years prior. Arcadian citizens are forbidden to leave the ship, but as a student medic, Esther has the rare opportunity to work on land pending an evaluation. When she hears a rumor that another quarantined ship similar to hers had its citizens slaughtered, however, her worry for family prompts her to question her goals. Alternating chapters follow Punjabi Nikhil “Nik” Lall, also 16 and a member of a group of revolutionaries planning a rebellion that seeks to end the quarantine. When he is shot during an incident, Esther is kidnapped by the rebellion to treat him, and their lives intertwine as the rebels and Arcadian government clash. Daniels crafts an invigorating microcosm of society aboard the Arcadia via a protagonist whose ever-expanding worldview imbues this cinematic-feeling thriller with suspense and intrigue. Ages 14–up. Agent: Felicity Blunt, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)