Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dystopian Pick: Partials--Coming Soon!

by Dan Wells
Balzer + Bray
480 pages (page count from publisher's website)

Available 2/28/12

Watch the book trailer here

Chilling, creepy, and caustic, Partials is a provocative dystopian thrill-ride. After an apocalyptic war with the Partials, super-soldiers designed by Paragen, a genetics corporation, to kill the human race, some human survivors band together in New York and try to find a way to defeat RM, a dangerous and stubborn virus released by the Partials that attacks all new human births. Babies born after the war with the Partials die within a few days. Unless scientists can figure out a way to cure them, the human race is doomed.

Kira works in the hospital monitoring new births and recording all vital statistics. She is furious that the babies are dying. All she sees is babies being born, doctors and nurses recording their data, and babies dying. No one is thinking up a new way to study RM. Kira realizes the only ones who aren't dying of RM are the Partials. They are immune.

Kira approaches her boyfriend Marcus, her best friend Madison and her husband Haru, and a few other soldiers and recruits them to accompany her on a dangerous and eventful mission: enter enemy territory and kidnap a Partial. She plans to bring the Partial back to the hospital to study his blood and tissue samples to try to find a cure for RM and a way to save humanity.

The Hope Act passed by the Senate has just dropped the age for mandatory pregnancy. Girls age sixteen are now expected to have at least one pregnancy per year, hoping that the more babies being born will insure that someday one will live. Kira knows more babies born each year just guarantees that more babies will die, and now the law affects her, too; Kira turns sixteen.

The mission is a success with casualties. The Partial is sedated and taken to the lab. Kira is in trouble with the Senate, but they listen and give her five days to test the subject. As she spends more time with the Partial, she begins to empathize with him--he looks human, he acts almost human, he must have feelings, he must be lonely and scared. She learns his name is Samm--and this makes him a "person." Marcus is worried that Kira is treating the enemy like a human and that she may actually be falling in love with him.

When the Senate tries to manipulate the situation and kill Samm, Kira counts on her friends and Samm to help her escape and cure RM. What Kira finds on her journey is shocking; it changes her whole world.

The ending left this reader wondering what will happen next? A sequel, perhaps? Yep, on checking the author's website, book two is Failsafe. Kira can't just walk away--not with the new information about her past and her life. Will humanity make a comeback? Will the Partials and the humans make peace?

The cover and the print on the front cover, "The only hope for humanity isn't human" will attract teen readers. The strong female protagonist is not only determined but downright pig-headedly stubborn and she will resonate with girls and boys. I appreciated the fact that the author left romance out of the equation almost entirely--humans are fighting for survival and bombs are blowing up everywhere--who has time for romance? Trying to save the world is a full-time job!

Highly, highly recommended grades 9-up. Violence and death. The fact that teen girls are incubators and love is nearly non-existant is best for upper grades.

Don't forget to watch the trailer here

FTC required disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.

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