Shift by Charlotte Agell
Review by Jena Lohrbach ( Muse Book Reviews)
Setting: Part of the USA has been taken over by ultra conservatives and transformed into a fascist state. The Boston area has been destroyed with atomic bombs, and everything north of that is considered a wild and dangerous area, where crazies live and radioactivity affects plant life.
Main Characters: Adrian Havoc (16) and his little sister Shriek. Lenora, a girl who works at the zoo.
Plot: Adrian, Shriek and Lenore become part of a resistance plot to destroy Homestate's deathgrip on a population that continues to be traumatized by the bombing of Boston.
Shift seems to have been written as a form of response to outrageous right-wing personalities' statements and actions. I'm normally a fan of sci-fi dystopias, but this book could've used a softer crafting, more subtlety. Starting the story with the disappearance of Adrian's Jewish friend's family, which of course brings to mind the Nazis, and every couple of chapters emphasizing how Adrian's idea of God seemed to differ from everyone else's (as preached by Homestate)—all of it seemed a bit heavy-handed. Still, the adventure is enjoyable (if predictable) and Shift is probably a great way to get reluctant readers to read some science fiction.*
*However, if you're an adult encouraging teen reading, you should be aware that certain frowned-upon four-letter words are a prominent feature of Adrian's dialogue, just in case that's a sticking point.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080507810X
- ISBN-13: 978-0805078107
- Source: Review copy from publisher