When the local Sheriff abducts the adult members of her family and hands her mother over to the Breeders, Riley and her eight-year-old brother, Ethan, hiding in a shelter, are left to starve. Then Clay arrives, the handsome gunslinger who seems determined to help to make up for past sins. The problem is Clay thinks Riley is a bender-- a genderless mutation, neither male nor female. As Riley's affection for Clay grows she wonders can she trust Clay with her secret and risk her freedom?
The three embark on a journey across the scarred remains of New Mexico-- escaping the Riders who use human sacrifice to appease their Good Mother, various men scrambling for luck, and a deranged lone survivor of a plague. When Riley is shot and forced into the Breeder's hospital, she learns the horrible fate of her mother—a fate she'll share unless she can find a way out.Review:
Let me tell you I did not expect this book. I knew it was dystopian and that it would have some dark themes running through this book, but I really didn't expect something so dark. Yes, this comes from someone who has said that YA doesn't go dark enough. Well, this one was close to pitch dark.
Now, for those that don't like it too dark, I do suggest you give this one a try. It's very engaging and you really get a feel for Riley and her situation. You become quite entangled in her adventure and that is why it becomes so dark. You root for Riley, but you cannot see a solution for her that would allow a perfectly happy HEA, only a best case scenario. In this world being a woman is dangerous. You are not human, you are property, period. You will also like the love interest, Clay. I enjoyed his character growth as much as Riley's.
I don't want to give away too much. Some of the interest came with figuring out how harrowing life is in this dystopian world. I would suggest that this is for older YA groups as well as adults. It has talk about rape and some gore. It fits the world though and makes it quite realistic. The ending is pretty complete, but you can see there are threads open that lend itself to a series. Yes, I do want to know what happens next. I give this book 4 stars.
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Katie French imagined herself an author when her poem caught the eye of her second grade teacher.
In middle school she spent her free time locked in her room, writing her first young adult novel. Though her social life suffered, her love for literature thrived. She studied English at Eastern Michigan University, where she veered from writing and earned an education degree. She spent nine years teaching high school English.
Currently she is a school counselor, doing a job that is both one of the hardest things she’s ever done and the most rewarding. In her free time she writes, reads great books and takes care of her two beautiful and crazy children. She is a contributor and co-creator of Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to erasing the boundaries between traditional and non-traditional publishing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.
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