Saga Press, 2015
Skyler and Phee are two sisters with very different personalities. Skyler is the quiet one, thinking things through while Phee jumps into a situation not thinking about the consequences of her actions. Right now, they, along with their mother, are on the move to what was once Central Park in order to stay safe through the winter. It's not what any of them want, it's what they need in order to survive.
New York City, including the island of Manhattan where the girls and their mother live, have undergone changes because of World War III and the Red Army that took over. While their mother may remember the time before WWIII, Sklyer and Phee only know the broken down streets, the savages lurking in dark corners, and Rolladin and her lords, who rule the decimated population at the POW camp once known as Central Park.
Rolladin rules with an iron fist, and those rules must be obeyed. When Phee, Skyler and their mother arrive late for the head count, they know they're in trouble. Those who don't make it are forced to try and survive outside the POW camp, where many have tried and failed. But for some reason, Rolladin has a soft spot for the girls and instead of kicking them out, she allows them in with one condition...Phee must be part of the annual street fights in order to win their family a spot inside. While Phee sees this as an opportunity, quiet Skyler sees the danger in it, understanding how manipulative Rolladin can be.
After playing her part, Phee, Skyler and their mother are able to move back into camp, but one fateful night will change their situation. One chance meeting with outsiders and a conversation overheard will change the girls' world and future as they know it. Instead of seeing themselves as safe, they now understand they are actually prisoners and are willing to risk the outside in order to flee, along with their mother and the two strangers, from the madness.
What they don't realize is that madness can be found anywhere, especially in a world that is trying to right itself and the struggle for power over what's left becomes the new battlefront.
Kelly Lee writes an amazing dystopian YA novel with a larger than life backdrop of a bombed out NYC and the different survivors dwelling there. They say opposites attract, and Lee uses this through point of view alternating narratives between the sisters and how they see the same situation in completely different ways. This is what creates the solidity of this novel. The characters are real, the history is real, and those in the background create a stark reality. This is what I've been waiting for....a great, believable dystopian novel with a fast pace and abrupt surprises. Another strong point of this book, are the adult characters in it. While the two main characters are teenagers, Lee uses the adults to juxtapose the newer and older generations involved in the ultimate fight for power. While the two sisters are strong together, it's the adults helping them create and hone their strenghts while trying to survive the fierce competition for power. While the two sisters are strong together the adults help create and hone their streaks while trying to survive Recommended.