Can you trust your family? Can you trust your friends? Because you may just have to choose.
New York City, 2048. Superstorms, and the politics of privilege, have left downtown Manhattan in tatters with electricity rationed, neighborhoods condemned, and hope destroyed. When high school senior Casey Parker and her best friend Jennifer are ripped from their comfortable, prep school lives, the pair find themselves in the dangerous world of the resistance. With family on both sides of the conflict, there’s no way out for Casey but a dangerous gamble: allowing herself to be captured by the enemy in order to learn their secrets. Failure could mean the lives of her family; success could mean the lives of her friends…
Plot: Acriche's plot explodes into action from the beginning and builds steadily to a climax. Though some twists feel very sudden, the ending is tidy and the storyline demands attention.
Prose/Style: Acriche's prose is crisp and articulate, with dramatic but utterly realistic writing for the genre. The main characters' voices are uncomplicated, logical, and well-defined within the storyline's parameters.
Originality: Drained is a well-crafted, futuristic, and completely believable storyline. The worldbuilding is arresting, with an air of familiarity at the same time.
Character Development/Execution: Acriche has crafted a credible protagonist in Casey Parker, who unabashedly fights for her values regardless of the cost. Secondary characters help build the suspense and move the storyline along.
Blurb: A tension-filled dystopian crusade for freedom, no matter the personal cost.
Date Submitted: April 30, 2021
Acriche proves masterful at getting clear, inventive action onto the page and keeping it moving. When Casey reluctantly dashes down a “woodsy incline” outside a parking garage, Acriche writes “So, down she went, slipping and sliding—first on her feet, then on her ass, then back on her feet.” Readers will zip with the hero through the twists and dramatic fights. Casey’s courage extends beyond her years, as she slowly comes to realize that life will never be the same after her covert mission. Although the story centers on Casey, Jennifer plays a strong supporting role, sacrificing her entire way of life in the name of truth, and a sweet romantic subplot balances the tense themes and gives the reader a chance to breathe between the action.
The book opens with a map of this future New York, to orient readers to the setting and major scenes, but Acriche foregoes info-dump exposition about this dystopian future, instead plunging readers right into it. Stimulating discussion questions at the end will spark debate about privilege, family, friendship, and sacrifice. Readers of all ages will warm to Casey, as she finds more confidence and strength with each chapter.
Takeaway: A great escape for anyone who loves a dynamic young hero fighting a corrupt government.
Great for fans of: Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire, Axie Oh’s Rebel Soul.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A