From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-The Establishment controls everyone and everything in this bleak future world. Sixteen-year-old Lucky and his four-year-old brother, Cole, live in a rundown building and have little to eat. Their parents are dead, and they have only a friendly (but sickly) neighbor to watch over them. Lucky does his best to provide for Cole. When the time comes for The Establishment to choose its new Recruits, Lucky risks being thrown in prison to get in touch with an old friend, now high in rank, to try to save himself from being recruited. Unfortunately, his actions have the opposite result when the friend betrays him. Along with four others, he must compete to win every round of Trials or else choose which of the two people he cares about most will die. Lucky's situation is made even more complicated by his affection for and attraction to Digory, a rebellious and handsome young man. The book has an interesting, disturbing concept, but it is not very original. Lucky seems bright, and yet makes large errors in judgment. This novel is similar to Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games in its brutality, but it fails to provoke the same emotional attachment readers feel for the characters in Collins's blockbuster. In some ways, this dystopian vision seems even more unsettling; throughout the Trials, the Recruits' loved ones are killed in increasingly disturbing ways.-Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Original and compelling ...A heart-pounding page-turner, fans of fantasy and adventure will eagerly await the second installment." VOYA - Courtney Huse Wika"The Culling is jam-packed with action. Between the mysterious and chilling exposition, to the terrifying and tense Trials, The Culling never has a slow moment." - San Francisco Book Review "...stands as a rare dystopia in which gay characters exist." - Kirkus Reviews "...an exciting read for all you adventure-seekers. It's like the Hunger Games, except with gay characters." - The Advocate