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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 132.
- Review Date: 2010-02-15
- Reviewer: Staff
In her first YA novel, O'Brien creates a dystopian future in which to explore complex issues of morality and survival. In a world rocked by climate change, the Enclave is a much-needed bastion of civilization, and many of those who live outside its walls serve it in one fashion or another. As a midwife apprenticed to her mother, 16-year-old Gaia Stone is expected, like any other midwife, to bring the first three babies she delivers each month to the Enclave to satisfy its demands for new citizens. When her parents are taken for questioning by the Enclave, Gaia takes over for her mother, even though she's not entirely comfortable following orders unquestioningly anymore. Her quest to track down and save her parents leads her into the Enclave itself, where she befriends the handsome Captain Grey, a man with his own secrets, and discovers the unsettling truths behind the Enclave's need for children. Though predictable in places and unconvincing in others, this science fiction adventure is a brisk and sometimes provocative read, thanks to solid pacing, a resourceful heroine, and a few surprise twists. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)