384p. ebook available. Tor Teen. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765336620.
Gr 10 Up—Ty and Colin have learned to survive in Metaltown: they keep their heads down, guard each other's backs, and put their lives at risk each day just to keep their jobs at Small Parts, a weapons factory that employs minors. Then things change. Jed Schultz, creator of the Brotherhood, an organization that acts as a liaison between the adult workers of Metaltown and the Hamptons, the family who owns everything, takes notice of Colin. The teen soon learns that protection—and freedom—have a price. At the same time, Lena Hampton, naive and eager to learn about her family's weapons factory, gets involved with Colin and Ty's fight for equality. Together, the Small Parts factory workers take on the Brotherhood and Lena's father, who will do whatever it takes to keep the war going and preserve the Hampton fortune. This speculative novel is told from alternating perspectives, allowing readers to connect with Ty, Colin, and Lena. The horrors each character faces—abuse, hunger, violence, a work accident with detrimental effects—are written about in a raw and realistic way. Throughout, there are hints of a possible love triangle brewing, but the harsh reality of Metaltown and the conflicts taking place prevent romance from blossoming. While the story ends with optimism for the future, Simmons does not pull back and tragically, not all characters live to see this hope.
VERDICT Rife with social commentary, this gritty, stand-alone dystopian novel will keep readers engaged and belongs in most collections.

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