February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz | SLJ Review

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LizardSchmatz, Pat. Lizard Radio. 288p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763676353.

Gr 8 Up–All great heroes begin with mythical origins. Fifteen-year-old Kavali is no exception. When she was a baby, she was abandoned on a sidewalk, swaddled in a T-shirt with a lizard printed on the front. Since then, she has questioned her true identity. Is she a boy or a girl? A lizard or a human? This work is set in the not-too-distant future, in which the government closely monitors gender, occupation, and emotion. When Kavali is thrown into CropCamp, a camp where teenagers learn how to grow organic crops as initiation into adulthood, she begins to question whether she should forfeit her individuality to become a cooperative part of society. Ultimately, Kavali rises above the challenges, discovers her true origins, and makes her own destiny. The themes in Schmatz’s novel surpass in complexity many of its contenders in YA dystopian fiction. The author’s storytelling unravels question upon question for readers, not only about Kavali but also about the power of free will. VERDICT An entertaining and thought-provoking read, this title will be a big hit for those who want a little something more from their dystopian fiction.–Jaclyn Anderson, Madison County Library System, MS

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s July 2015 issue. 

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