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Contract City Hardcover – March 15, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—In the year 2021, Sara Paige Christie lives in Tulsa, OK. She is a high school student who desperately wants to go to UCLA as a film student. She is working on a documentary about the graffiti that keeps popping up on the outskirts of town, which reads, "WH2RR??" As Tulsa is now denationalized, the private police force, Free Force Tulsa, washes every trace of this graffiti away within 24 hours. All pictures have been scrubbed from the Internet as well, which fascinates and inspires Sara. She is determined to discover the secrets behind "WH2RR??" Along her journey, Sara meets Billy, a fellow film amateur. Her infatuation leads her down a path she is not equipped to handle. As tensions rise, Sara films more than a high school student should see. She finds out the identity of the graffiti artist and that Free Force Tulsa is trying to eradicate the homeless population. As the situation explodes, Sara is in the right place at the right time, but at what cost? This is an interesting take on the popular dystopian style. The omniscient narrator's language is elegant, almost out of place in such a gritty world, but the vernacular of the characters' dialogue is realistic. Teens will identify with the protagonists here, who are concerned with the same issues: sex, alcohol, smoking, school angst, and friendship. However, the flat, underdeveloped characters seem to be buried beneath the language of the story and the dystopian world Falkin has created. VERDICT An additional purchase for any high school library.—Jeni Tahaney, Duncanville High School Library, TX


A breathless ride of a novel. Seventeen-year-old Sara is a protagonist readers are unlikely to forget. Making a documentary film with the hopes of impressing college admission officers, she winds up at the center of a revolution, where no one--not the boy she falls in love with or even her own father--is who he first appears to be. A novel rife with engaging characters and rich with powerful ideas and implicit warnings about an all-too-believable future, Contract City is the very best kind of page-turner. --Suzanne Greenberg, Author of Lesson Plans and winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for Speed Walk and Other Stories

Falkin creates a near-future world that is at once terrifying and uncomfortably familiar, one where corporations have consumed entire cities and history is scrubbed away, even as it happens. His feisty, film-making protagonist, torn between her pre-fabricated suburban life and the troubled world outside her comfort zone, trains her camera on this censored world, revealing its fissures and provoking a confrontation between perception and reality. From the first page, Contract City is an enthralling, white-knuckle read that is enriched by its heroine: an ordinary girl with extraordinary guts. --C.F. Yetman, Author of The Roses Underneath

Contract City is an intelligent YA dystopian novel set in the country's first fully privatized city, Tulsa, Oklahoma. I use the term dystopian lightly because the world Falkin created is so realistic that the story balances right on the edge between sci-fi and reality. Set in the very near future, Tulsa has become the first city to become completely privatized, with services such as police, hospitals, and schools run by private corporations. But more is going on than meets the eye. Sara, a teenage documentary film-maker, begins investigating some graffiti that shows up everywhere--the tag WH2RR??. What starts as an interesting documentary subject to help her break into the film scene becomes a deeper and darker mystery, and soon she is hunted by the private police squad as they try to obtain her footage. Contract City strikes the perfect balance between intelligent and action-packed. The world, the characters, and the story are smart and timely, but that doesn't stop Falkin from creating a fast-paced and exciting story. I loved that he wasn't afraid to create a dystopian world that's both subtle and realistic a believable glimpse into a real, near future. But my favorite thing about the story was Sara. She's a wonderful, strong YA protagonist. The young artist is brave, clever, curious, and cares about the world around her. At one and the same time, she is strong and vulnerable, which makes her relatable and easy to root for. Although tackling big, real issues, she also has to navigate the challenges of youth, such as finding her place in the world and experiencing a first love. I was on her side from page one. Teens and adults alike will appreciate the intelligence and reality behind this story, and will be rooting for Sara along with me. I enjoyed drinking in every page. --Sharon Bayliss, Author of Destruction and Watch Me Burn

Product details

  • Grade Level : 8 - 12
  • Item Weight : 1.13 pounds
  • Hardcover : 280 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1610881443
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1610881449
  • Product Dimensions : 6.15 x 0.79 x 9.34 inches
  • Publisher : Bancroft Press (March 15, 2015)
  • Reading level : 14 - 17 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33 ratings

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