The Chasm

Inkshares. (­Seclusion: Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 298p. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781950301331.
Gr 9 Up–This sequel to The Seclusion opens with rebel protagonist Patch recovering in Canada from her harrowing escape across the Wall and out of America. Haunted by her partner Rexx’s sacrifice to save her, little does she know he is alive and being held prisoner back in America. Patch marvels at the technology and life in Canada but quickly realizes she is a political pawn in a world that has caved to America’s constant threat of nuclear war. The UN will not intervene in an America where citizens are monitored with microchips, fed deliberate lies, and sent to work camps, and it might return Patch to keep political peace. Patch turns to the power of the people, broadcasting an emotional appeal exposing all of America’s deception and misinformation. In a daring plan, she returns to America, armed with stealth technology and two Canadian allies, and finally reunites with Rexx. The backstory is carefully relayed so that those who have not read The Seclusion can easily grasp past events. Though set in 2090, when Patch yells, “How can you just watch and not do anything,” it channels today’s rage and frustration against atrocities played out daily in the news. Castle chillingly writes, “Extremist leaders were popping up everywhere, feeding on the fear, taking the actions of a changing America as a green light for chaos.” While the author could easily have teased another sequel, the end feels both natural and hopeful.
VERDICT Not only necessary in school libraries, but also a solid choice for a class read.

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