Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dystopian Pick: Skylark

By Meagan Spooner
Carolrhoda Lab
333 pages

Dystopian and downright disturbing, multi-layered and darkly fascinating, bizarrely novel and breathtakingly beautiful, dangerous yet grotesquely compelling, Skylark hits all the right notes. This is one YA novel that readers will never forget.

Set in a disturbing dystopian world where the City “harvests” the lifesource of its own children, stripping them of their magic and well being when they come of age, the city uses the children’s magic powers for the good of all. Lark Ainsley knew that someday would be her day to help her city. She had no idea that the city intends to use ALL of her.

She escapes a fate worse than death and flees outside the “safety” of the City. A frightening encounter with a woman like her compels her into action. She knows that they will never quit looking for her, but dying trying to escape is better than “living” as a silent conduit slave for the city’s power supply. Kris helps Lark escape, and she runs into the wilds where she meets a wild boy named Oren. Oren has been alone for many years, doing whatever is necessary to survive and escape the dark ones. He knows where the Iron Wood is located and reluctantly agrees to accompany Lark.

Lark knows there is safety in the Iron Wood; there are others like her—others who can do magic, others who have fled their own cities. The words from Robert Frost have never been more foreboding, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep…” What will Lark find in the Iron Wood? Will she and Oren finally be safe?

Teen readers will race through the pages empathizing with lovely and spirited Lark—Lark, the girl who never gives up. No matter what the consequences, Lark faces danger head-on. She is the fiercest teen heroine to date; I’d want Lark on my dystopian/apocalypse/ zombie fighting team. She is a force of nature!

This is the first book in a planned trilogy—teen readers will not want to wait long for the next installment. This series is not to be missed!

The beautiful cover art will stop teens in their tracks. The sunlight filtering in through the "trees" and the sharp iron spikes are eerily spooky. The title Skylark is non-threatening and poetic--but the iron spikes give the reader the idea that even though the cover is beautiful, there is something stronger and darker in the story. I love this compelling cover, and I think it will be considered one of the best covers of the year.

Highly, highly recommended grades 7-up. The harvest requires the person to remove his/her clothing, but it’s not in the least bit sexual. Similar to a werewolf obviously can’t wear clothing when he/she changes forms. No language. No sex. Violence and disturbing dystopia. Think The Hunger Games mixed with A Long Long Sleep and a bit of disturbing science fiction/medical/ethical dilemmas similar to Coma.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


  1. Thanks for your reviews. I often send them on to my grandchildren as they love this kind of fiction.
    Jean Koch
    Va Beach, VA
    3604 Kings lake Drive
    Va Beach, VA 23452

  2. WOW! I can't wait to read Skylark. Fingers crossed!

    Rochester, NY

  3. I would love to have Skylark in my HS collection! Here's hoping.
    Lois Smits

  4. Sounds great.
    Oklahoma City, OK

  5. Another series is always a welcome addition!

    Limestone Community School
    Limestone, Maine

  6. I love disturbing.

    Laredo, Texas

  7. I would love this for my high school library. The students love this type of novel.
    Whiteland Community High School Library
    300 Main Street
    Whiteland, IN 46184

  8. Would love to win a copy:
    Maggie Knapp
    Fort WOrth, TX