Basic Set Up Info:
Set somewhere in the future, within an enclosed world which has advanced technology, Trella lives in a crowded space where she is one of two factions - Uppers and Lowers. Trella is a Lower and because of this “lower” status she is required to clean the complex pipe systems of this metallic world and is designated a “scrub.” Trella is strong teen, slightly damaged, and prefers to keep to herself. As the story progresses and we become introduced to its dystopian society and its apparent class structure imbalance, drama and light romance ensue.
This is a wonderful introduction to science fiction and dystopian society for young adults and especially girls. I would have loved this as a “tween” in the 1970s. We had the Nancy Drew series, and authors like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Zilpha Keatley Snyder giving us mystery, historical fiction, and paranormal. Sadly, I remember no role models for girls within science fiction; goodness knows, I tried devouring the boy’s preteen section on science fiction from our local library.
Another positive element in this book is that Maria Snyder includes some basic concepts around political dystopian concepts for a younger reader. This I feel is important, since it can be then be a basis for understanding more complex worlds, as well as world history and current events. Highly recommended for adults interested in a light read, but especially for intrigued and intelligent girls (and boys too, since it is light on the romance). I give it a 4 star rating and am also excited that it is a first in a series. I believe the next is called Outside In and will be released at the beginning of 2011.