by Shelley Miller

"'So,' said Paris, his eyes lowering. 'You weren’t really kidnapped. You really were living in a Dud Community. You’re really....' 'Class 0,' Promise admitted."

In a society where people are organized into classes based on the superpowers they receive as teenagers, Promise Terrene lives the good life. Born to two Class 1 parents, her privileged lifestyle leads to a snobbish attitude but one that is shared by the caste system she lives in. When her fourteenth birthday arrives, she travels to the Lightning Tower to receive her powers, but the unthinkable occurs when no powers manifest. Dubbed a Class 0, she is entitled to no kind of preferential treatment by society and is only spared sterilization and enrollment in a work camp by being smuggled away by a Class 2 who witnesses her diagnosis and helps her escape to the countryside. Separated from family, friends, and the only life she’s ever known, Promise must learn how to get by using only her wits in a world where virtually everyone has incredible powers.

At face value, this book is a thrilling young adult science fiction adventure with a bold cast of characters and plenty of action from start to finish. Beneath that, however, is a pretty relevant examination of the ways in which society is lessened by its divisions, be it cliques in a high school or income disparity throughout an entire nation. For Promise to have an expectation her whole life of prestige and power, she has to instantly adapt and find the strength to live a life where she has no support system, no money, and must struggle with homelessness. Despite the fantastic environments and special powers around this story, situations like these are real possibilities for some people, and this book examines how people survive in a system that is stacked against them. Interesting from cover to cover and packed with an interesting premise, this book is an imaginative must-read.

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