Holiday House. May 2019. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823440900.
Gr 9 Up–In this follow-up to his YA debut, Spliced, McGoran finds his rhythm in an exciting, futuristic thriller. Just as 16-year-old heroine Jimi Corcoran has settled back into normalcy, her world is shaken by several events. First, her boyfriend Rex—one of the many younger members of society who has decided to splice his DNA with the genes of animals in order to acquire qualities like fur, cat eyes, or feathers—has returned from places unknown. Second, a cultural and political war between the spliced subculture of “chimeras” and a powerful anti-chimera group is once again heating up. When Doc Guzman tries to help one of these hybrid humans and is jailed, the action takes Jimi and her chimera friends out of their battle-scarred, futuristic Philadelphia and into the postapocalyptic suburbs. There, she finds a hospital with a terrible secret and herself on another mission to save hundreds of chimeras. While the love scenes feel a little forced, this book is full of enough action-packed thrills and suspense to more than make up for it. The social commentary is a bit heavy-handed at times, but it will leave young readers with a lot to ponder about hate groups and their adversaries.
VERDICT A sci-fi page-turner for readers who enjoy Cinder and Divergent.

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