The Waning Age
352p. Viking. Feb. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451479853.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—In her first solidly YA novel, Grove crafts a dystopian society of teens who "wane" or lose all emotional sensitivity. Wealthy individuals create synthetic drugs that allow them to experience a range of feelings, while the poor attempt to secure cheap, often lethal versions of similar substances. As adolescence begins, children "wane" and are educated to follow logical rules and order. A portion of youth still turn to senseless acts of violence. When Natalia and Calvino lose their mother, they are forced to grow up quickly and fend for themselves. Calvino's late waning and constant show of emotion make him a prime target for lab testing at RealCorp. When RealCorp conspires to adopt Cal with the intent of indefinite testing, Natalia must break every rule to release him from a life of experimentation. The author creates a bleak society of people who yearn to feel, but offers hope through the relationship Natalia has with her brother. Unexpected twists create a fast-paced plot. Topics of suicide, rape, extreme violence, and murder arise but are discussed with reserved detail and sensitivity. Readers will explore the implications of a negative biological evolution and the relationship between human emotion and social order.
VERDICT A must-have for libraries with dystopian fans.

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