The Secret Runners

Crown. Aug. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593125809.
Gr 9 Up–Newly relocated from Memphis to Manhattan, Skye and her twin brother Redford are about to start at The Monmouth School, where new girls have been going missing. Red quickly falls into the popular group who share a big secret; they have access to a mysterious underground portal. After Skye gets invited to join the group, they discover it is a portal to a future that is soon upon them. As the apocalypse is approaching, Skye discovers she has more to face than the end of the world. Quick to bring readers in with its mysterious prologue, the book drastically switches to a slow pace when the real story begins. The novel is divided into seven parts, and it does pick up again in part three, holding readers’ attention. Each section starts with a map providing a small visual of where that part of the story is taking place. Though the significant characters are intriguingly flawed, the minor ones are easily confused with one another, including one who will be discovered as a more critical antagonist than initially led to believe. Loose ends leave space for a sequel. The primary arc of the story wraps up, leaving readers with a satisfying ending.
VERDICT Hardcore science fiction and dystopian fans may be disappointed by how much of the story is rooted in the pre-apocalyptic world and the mean girl storyline. An additional purchase.

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