336p. Scholastic. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338196993.
Gr 6 Up—What if your life's story was tattooed on your body for your whole community to see? In Leora's world, it is. Citizens are "inked" with tattoos to represent everything from their careers and family trees to the great joys and sorrows of their lives. When someone dies, his or her life is determined worthy—or not—by the government assessment of one's ink. If you're worthy, your skin becomes a book, a treasured and honored keepsake held by your family to remember you. If not, your skin is burned, your stories lost forever. The death of Leora's father still hangs heavily over what should be a joyful time—graduation, being assigned a prestigious career. As her father's trial comes nearer, Leora learns a terrible secret that might ruin her father's legacy and change her life forever. The promising opening chapters do not quite deliver. Leora believably grieves her father's death while questioning herself and deeply held societal beliefs, but other characters and story lines feel inconsistent. Few characters can accurately "read" ink—that is, see the story behind the tattoo—making the premise of a society without secrets somewhat perplexing. Still, an interesting concept combined with action and intrigue will hook teen readers.
VERDICT Purchase where lighter dystopia and realistic science fiction are popular.

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