Partials (Partials, book 1)
By Dan Wells
Expected publication February 28, 2012 by Balzer + Bray
After the Isolation War came the Partials War and now humanity as we know it is nearly non-existent. The survivors, numbering only perhaps in the tens of thousands, live on Long Island, constantly in fear of dying out completely. No baby in a decade has been born immune to the virus that killed off most of the population. When Kira Walker discovers her best friend is pregnant, she knows she will do anything to make sure that baby lives.
This is a book that I heard about from one of my favorite book blogs (Books Smugglers, if you don't read this already, what are you waiting for??). Dan Wells' earlier novels had also made my radar, so when I saw an ARC of this one at Midwinter, I happily snatched it up.
If you read my earlier review of BZRK, this book is the one that I was way more into than Grant's book. Right from the opening chapter, Wells had my attention. Kira is, admittedly, not a perfect heroine. But there is something about her that is compelling and interesting and makes you really hope that all her hare-brained schemes might actually work. Wells has pacing down to an art form. This book is pretty relentless - you feel the constant push to keep reading, just one more chapter, I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. There are a number of cliff-hangers throughout the novel that really make you wish you didn't have to go to work, or the gym, or sleep (WHY CAN'T I READ IN MY SLEEP? This is perhaps my greatest lamentation). Though a good percentage of the book is action action action, there are some quieter moments mixed in. Kira's struggle with how to live in this world and the balance between what feels right for her and what will make the most people happy is something that I think a lot of teens will be able to relate to. As I said, she's not perfect - some of the things she does had me yelling at the book in frustration. But, for me, she's a better heroine than Katniss Everdeen because she makes the difficult choices. In my opinion, Katniss was not a born hero; she became one due to circumstances forced upon her. Kira, on the other hand, appears to have always had the instinct for heroics. I know in that plot description it says that her best friend's pregnancy encourages her heroic behavior, but she was actually on the path before she found out about the impending baby. This book is exciting and I'm really intrigued by the world that Wells has created. To me, it's believable and horrific. This is a book that could foster some excellent discussion among teens. I desperately want the next book NOW. This is highly recommended for fans of sci-fi, especially dystopian, post-apocalyptic worlds. I highly recommend this for girls, as well, because I think Kira is a great character.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.