“Rich and timely.” —Aprilynne Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Incredibly immersive.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A gripping tale of trust.” —Booklist
To escape execution for a crime she didn’t commit, sixteen-year-old Sev is forced to run away from the only home she’s ever known in this “richly imagined” (BCCB, starred review) post-apocalyptic debut novel from Caitlin Sangster.
Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.
Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.
When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.
But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.
The people of the City are beset by encephalitis lethargica sleeping sickness and drug-resistant strains are cropping up. The symptoms can be violent, but 16-year-old Jiang Sev, who is infected, places her trust in the City. Years ago, Sev's mother betrayed the City, infecting Sev with the disease, and now lies in stasis, on display above the Traitor's Arch, leaving Sev branded and diminished in status. When Sev is blamed for a bombing, she and a secretive boy named Howl wind up on the run. Howl insists that answers lie at a far-off mountain, but the journey is dangerous, and the promise of safety may only be an illusion. Loosely inspired by China's Cultural Revolution, Sangster's vibrant debut is set in a world where class and status define its citizens; some genuinely surprising twists highlight Sev's struggle to accept a reality vastly different from what she has known. Her candid voice propels the tense narrative to a conclusion that leaves no question where Sev's convictions and loyalties lie and sets up the next chapter in her journey. Ages 12 up.
I just finished this book today and it was so good! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it! I’m so glad my library had it!!