My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Action, Antiheroes
Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far. But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.
Once this book hits the shelves and readers all over the world pick it up, YA Fiction will never be the same again.
Because this book doesn’t sugarcoat. Because it treats its teenage readers like adults. It expects them to understand and plunges them into a world that is, yes, dark and, yes, gruesome and, yes, extremely raw.
But readers can handle it.
One too many times, YA main characters turn soft or give the impression that they are invincible in body and spirit when in fact a simple kiss from a love interest shatters their resolve and turns them to mush. They forget what their main goals were.
Please. You will not find that here.
Nita is not like that. It’s not just that she takes pleasure from dissecting corpses and hurts herself only to heal her own body afterward, she doesn’t gag and she doesn’t hesitate to save her life, even if that means dissolving her moral values.
She kills people. She lets people die. She betrays and hurts and steals and cuts. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she’s an exemplary citizen, but the world she lives in needs people like her who aren’t afraid to get dirty to fight the shadows that roam the night.
And YA Fiction needs strong heroines. It also needs to realize that sixteen-year-olds, fourteen-year-olds and even twelve-year-olds can stomach the visualization of blood and broken bones. I don’t know about you, but I’ve fallen when I was a teen and felt pain all over my body. Even kids understand all of that… unless they’ve been completely kept away from, you know, the outside world.
I am pleased with what Rebecca Schaeffer did here. It’s true that her actions scenes could have been more exciting and her writing more emotionally affective, but this is the first book in a promising and unique new YA series. I simply cannot wait for the sequel. Why the cliff-hanger, though? So mean.
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