The Only Thing to Fear

288p. Scholastic. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545629881; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545629898.
Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old Zara St. James lives in a dystopian futuristic society in which the Nazis won World War II and now control the world alongside their Axis allies. Ever since Zara's mother and best friend were killed by the Nazis, Zara has been living with her uncle who is one of the leaders of the Alliance, a rebel group attempting to overthrow the government. Outraged by everything the Nazis have done to her friends and family, Zara is eager to join the Alliance, but her overprotective uncle won't allow it. Because of Zara's special ability to control wind, however, she feels she would be an invaluable asset, and spends the majority of the book complaining that her uncle won't allow her to do more to help. But when she meets Bastian, a Nazi soldier eager to join the rebels, she seizes her opportunity to defy her uncle and aid the Alliance in overthrowing the Nazi Empire. The romance that sparks between the two teens feels forced, and neither character is particularly likable or sympathetic. Zara's supernatural abilities seem misplaced considering the premise, and while the premise is intriguing, its distant third-person point of view and less-than-stellar writing make it a poorly executed story. Readers are unlikely to get past the first few chapters.—Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CT
Having lost WWII almost eighty years ago, the Allied nations have been taken over by the Axis powers' super-human anomaly troops. Half-Japanese Zara lives in the Nazi-run Eastern American Territories where she tries to quell her anomaly powers and decipher what an attractive young Nazi wants of her. Strong historical-based world-building is unfortunately unable to carry a lackluster story with stereotypical teen characterizations.

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