From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Every boy in Claysoot is taken just after midnight the morning he turns 18 in what the villagers call the Heist. Every one, that is, except Gray. He and his brother, Blaine, are exactly one year apart in age, and when Blaine vanishes in a flash of light, Gray is grieved but unsurprised. However, the discovery of a letter left behind by his mother leads him to search through his own medical records where he discovers that he was not Blaine's younger brother but his twin. Compelled to learn the truth behind the Heist and the wall that surrounds his village, Gray and Emma, the daughter of the town medic, escape into the outside world-a world in which resources are scarce, rebels wage war against city dwellers, and allies are not what they seem. Although the characters are not particularly loyal or noble, they are very human and sympathetic for their flaws. The cliff-hanger ending, which finds Gray heading out into the wilderness in search of other walled communities, guarantees a sequel. Riding the popular wave of dystopian fiction, debut novelist Bowman has created a dramatic work that is reminiscent of Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993) and will appeal to fans of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008) and Lauren Oliver's Delirium (HarperCollins, 2011).-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AKα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gray is the oldest man in Claysoot—and he is just 18. Thanks to a long-held secret about his birth, he has escaped the Heist, the moment on the eve of a boy’s eighteenth birthday that he disappears from the center of town in a shower of light and thunder. Unable to contain his anger and frustration about the unanswered questions, Gray takes the ultimate risk and climbs the Wall, though everyone who does returns dead. He doesn’t expect Emma to follow him, nor does he expect everything he thinks he knows about the world to be turned upside down when he is rescued and taken to Taem, or again when he escapes and meets the Rebels and the father he never knew. This is an action-packed, emotionally charged, plot-twisting adventure that sets up a number of believable conflicts: between Taem and the Rebels, within family units, and even in a love triangle. Told from a guy’s perspective, this dystopian has plenty of potential for gripping sequels. Grades 7-10. --Heather Booth