Tankborn (TU Books, 2011) is a young adult dystopian novel by Karen Sandler. It is very well written and the characters were developed so well that you feel like you actually know and can fully relate to the characters. It takes place on another planet but in many fashions, it parallels our currently world (well not the genetically engineered parts (a bit scary to think of that as a future possibility), but the class levels within society, discrimination and other aspects).
Here is the synopsis of Tankborn from the dust jacket of the book:
Kayla was just drying her hands from washing the dishes when the familiar tread of heavy boots approached in the hall. A fist pounded on the door.
The Brigade! Just when she thought they were safe, they'd come for her and Jal after all.
Had Jal escaped, or had they grabbed him up outside? Should she squeeze out one of the sleeproom windows, scale down the emergency ladder? Or would an enforcer be waiting for her down in the alley?
Tala seemed unconcerned as she crossed the living room for the door, but then Tala didn't know what had happened at the river. "Tala, don't."
She looked at Kayla, her surprise clear. "It's the Brigade. We have to."
Panic swamped Kayla. If she ran, they'd only come down that much harder on Tala. She had to stay. And hope against hope that Jal escaped.
Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.
I really enjoyed reading Tankborn--from the moment I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. I have to admit that I am really only beginning to discover, appreciate and enjoy science-fiction, however there is so much more to this story than straight up sci-fi. There is various levels of drama including a bit of romance.
Young adults and adults alike will enjoy Tankborn! It would make a wonderful holiday gift for book-lovers in your life!
Thank you to Lee & Low for my sample used in this review, opinions are honest. Review by Michelle.
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