Novel Nuggets – Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

Title: StrangerNovel Nuggets Button
Author: Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
ISBN: 9780670014804
No. of Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 13 November 2014

Synopsis:

“Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, “the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. “Las Anclas” now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.”

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

Meh. It is an interesting premise with a lot of promise, but the execution leaves something to be desired. There are a lot of plot holes. While some of those are intentional since this is the first in a series, the rest ruin the story’s continuity. The characters are simplistic and one-dimensional, never drawing a reader’s interest or empathy. The story does a fantastic job of promoting diversity and racial/gender/sexual equality, but the discrimination towards the Changed fails to elicit any deep discussion points. While it is not a horrible story, there are many other examples of well-written, thought-provoking dystopian YA fiction that are more worthy of one’s attention.

 

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