Last Pick

illus. by Jason Walz. 224p. First Second. Oct. 2018. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781626728912.
Gr 5–8—Twins Sam and Wyatt were children when the aliens took everyone between the ages of 16 and 65 except for those with disabilities, who were deemed weak or useless. Wyatt sees the world differently than his neurotypical sister, and together, the two try to discover where the invaders have taken their parents. When the aliens return to collect more people, the duo know it's time to fight back. Walz uses muted grays and greens to depict the dystopian environment on Earth, and a blue palette for flashback scenes, which fill in some much-needed world-building and character development. This is an action-packed story with compelling art and dialogue and a cliff-hanger ending; many readers will finish the book in a single sitting. The aliens are appropriately scary (with gaping, toothy maws and menacing red eyes), and themes of love, loyalty, and acceptance are effectively conveyed.
VERDICT A strong pick for reluctant readers. Give to fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix's "Shadow Children" series or Mark Siegel's "5 Worlds" books.

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