Tasha's Reviews > Shift

Shift by Charlotte Agell
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's review
Sep 29, 2008

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bookshelves: teen
Read in September, 2008

In a frighteningly possible future, Homestate rules the land. Evolution is not allowed to be discussed let alone taught in schools, watching religious programming is required, and the End of the World is approaching according to many. This all happened after terrorists bombed Boston with nuclear weapons, creating a swath of dead land across the Eastern United States. To the north of the Deadlands which still swirl with radioactive dust lies a land of horrible devastation and crazy people. At 15-years-old, Adrian has seen his friends disappear for not believing, his mother change from a scientists into a shell, and his little sister grow into her strange psychic abilities. Now he finds himself on an adventure across the Deadlands with a girl he barely knows, his little sister and a penguin. And all they have to look forward to on the other side is a frightening unknown.

Agell has created a world that is all too possible. I applaud her for not shirking away from what religious zealots could create in this world, though at times her tone can be too strident about the dangers. The book is gripping and impossible to put down. It vibrantly mixes humor and horror together. One worry I have is that it does belittle the dangers of nuclear weapons, rather than showing the devastation to the extent it should be. There were also some mixed messages about what food was safe to eat. But the heart of the story and the journey were a treat.

This book is a mixture of action, adventure and disaster and is well worth the time to read thanks to its writing. While I have quibbled about some of the points in the book, it is a strong novel with a strong voice. Appropriate for ages 10-13.

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