384p. Tor Teen. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765336637.
Gr 7–10—In this futuristic adventure, the narrative flips between the privileged Cliffdweller President's son, Ross, and a hardscrabble Shoreling girl, Marin, who eventually kidnaps him. Facing climate crisis and population crowding, the President and his cabinet have contrived an elaborate scheme to select a lucky 500 Shorelings to be the first relocated to Pacifica, a supposed island paradise, although the promotional materials all appear to have been digitally enhanced. When Ross and the less high-born Vice President's son, Adam, are out "slumming" among rioting protestors, they quickly find themselves in harm's way and lured into the hands of actual pirates. A picaresque series of swashbuckling episodes ensues, cementing the romantic bond between Ross and his "captor," Marin. Although readers may be tempted to "ship" the two boys, Adam and Ross, the author creates a very tame romance between Marin and Ross, complicated by the fact that Marin wrestles with her own issues of familial abandonment. What starts as an extremely strong dystopian concept novel dissolves into a pirate action story, complete with a clichéd jailbreak (including shooting the lock off a cell). The conclusion attempts to recapture the political intrigue laid out in the early chapters but falls flat, allowing the President to escape culpability by simplistically claiming naivete. Likewise, the contrast between social classes, a theme that was introduced early on, is never completely explored.
VERDICT A solid but not necessary addition for sci-fi action shelves.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

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