From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–In a possible future, Grace is an Angel, training to be a suicide bomber for the People, a group of rebels who fight against the totalitarian regime of Keran Berj. While the boys fight as Rorys, or soldiers, certain girls are offered as sacrifices to the cause. But Grace is different: she doesn't want to be a sacrifice. So, on the day she is to kill herself, she instead sets off the bomb and escapes. Now she is riding on a train, disguised as the sister of a mysterious boy named Kerr, and on her way to the border and possible freedom. But the threat of discovery is always there, and Grace knows that her fragile disguise could fail at any moment. This is a terse, tight, powerful book that's heavy on atmosphere. The beginning is written as a series of flashbacks, and it's through them that readers get a somewhat confused, disjointed view of events. It is only in the latter third of the book, once the story focuses more on Grace and her relationship with Kerr, that the action moves more steadily and clearly and she comes into her own. It is during this part that Scott's writing shines as Grace questions whether purposely killing people is ever right, even if it is done in the name of freedom. Give this novel to fans of dystopias who want darker visions than Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).–Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Although it’s never quite clear whether this is set in another world or a near future in ours, the parallels Scott (Living Dead Girl, 2008) strives for are patently evident. Grace was raised by the People to become an Angel, a girl whose single purpose in life is to strap on a bomb and blow up a chunk of disputed leader Keran Berj’s society. When Grace balks at the last moment and disgracefully survives the explosion, she attempts to flee the country along with another obviously haunted boy. The book takes place, with flashbacks, on the grueling train ride to the border, as the two evade the suspicions of guards and tentatively draw out each other’s shameful secrets. In all, it’s a fairly one-note affair: choose life, however hard, over an idealistic death. Surprisingly, this lacks a climax, but the terse writing effectively portrays Grace’s harrowing inner turmoil as it speaks to the part of the psyche that wonders how a person could willingly become a walking bomb. Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman