Pills and Starships

7 CDs. 7:30 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. $77.75. ISBN 9781490619347. Playaway, digital download.
Gr 7 Up—Global warming has turned the outside air toxic, and the ozone layer is nonexistant. Even the birth of children is a thing of the past. It is in this world, run by corporations instead of governments, that Nat lives with her brother, Sam, and her parents, who are more than 100 years old. Her parents are desperate to leave the dying world, preferring the corp-assisted ritual of the Final Week to dying a natural death. As Nat tries to process the emotions of losing her parents to a voluntary death, she reveals through her journal entries her discoveries that there is more to the Final Week than what the corporations feel like sharing. With a hurricane bearing down on them, Nat must discover the truth about her world if she hopes to survive. Millet's novel combines elegant prose with themes of global warming and governmental machinations. The lingo does take getting used to but is similar enough to present-day jargon to give only momentary pause. As proficient as Millet is with managing tension in the first half of the book, the climax does not maintain that intensity. The last few chapters seem almost an afterthought. Fans of dystopian fiction will certainly embrace the tale, up to a point, but may feel the same dissatisfaction once they have finished listening. Mozhan Marno expertly narrates. Suggest for students who have read everything else on the shelf.—Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY

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