Elysium Girls

Little, Brown. Apr. 2020. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368041867.
Gr 9 Up–Once a grass-filled landscape, Elysium is now a lackluster desert defenseless against the strong winds in the area. The apocalyptic nature of the world is established with the story opening on Black Sunday, a day historically referring to one of the most severe dust storms. It is in the midst of this upheaval that Sal Wilkerson introduces readers to the community’s history. They received the message that they’d been chosen by the Goddesses of Life and Death as pawns in a 10-year game of survival. If they can repair the mistakes brought on from their misuse of the land and eliminate the social barriers of race, gender, and class differences, their society will be deemed responsible and allowed to continue living in their rejuvenated state of happiness. Otherwise, they will lose and Death will win. Utilizing alternating viewpoints of a diverse array of characters from Latinx, Indigenous, and Black populations, Pentecost creates a gallery of rounded and complex personalities. Readers who enjoy apocalypse-infused danger will enjoy this neo-Westernized dystopian world filled with the good and evil magic of witches and demons, LGBTQ romance, steampunked mechanics, and hero moments.
VERDICT Recommended as an additional title selection to fill out dystopian and/or retrofuturistic sci-fi.

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