Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 22, 2016

Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss

Genres: Young Adult, Slight Sci-Fi, Suspense

Plot: In the future death by natural causes has been eradicated. They don’t age, get sick, or injured. However, people still need to die to control population growth. The solution? Scythes, futuristic grim reapers that glean people at random. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it, and unfortunately for Rowan and Citra, they’ve been recruited.

Review: I really liked this one, and here’s why:

  • It addresses a heavy topic in an insightful and interesting way. Shusterman approaches the subject of death from an outsider’s perspective. The story revolves around two young adults, Rowan and Citra, who are selected to be Scythe apprentices. Neither want the job, but a) someone has to do it, and b) if they complete the apprenticeship their families are exempt from death. Who wouldn’t give it a go under those circumstances? While some might find the plot to be gory, I found that Shusterman handled it with a great amount of sensitivity, and I commend him for it.
  • Even though it can be hard, ultimately it’s good to talk about death. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am married to a funeral director. Many people cringe when they hear this, but I feel like I have learned a lot about life from being so close to death, and am proud of the kindness and care my husband extends to those grieving. I’ve learned over the years that everyone processes a death differently and contextually. That it can range from being a morose and solitary experience, all the way to a jubilant celebration depending on the circumstances. Like life, each passing is unique. I’ve also learned just how important it is for people to be able to talk about death openly and honestly, even with children and young adults. I know that for many this is a tough topic, but when you give someone an opportunity to explore his or her feelings on the matter, it better prepares that person for the inevitable. Scythe is one of those books that opens up a dialog for the reader to accomplish this, and truth be told we need more of it in YA, because everyone is brushed by death at some point.
  • It has a little bit of something for everyone. If you like action, it’s got it. Romance? A smidge. Food for thought? Yes. Plot twists? For days! This one has mass appeal.
  • It’s a series! When you get to the end, you will thank your stars and scythes it’s projected to be a trilogy. Come on book two!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Who Should Snag It: Fans of Shusterman’s previous works or those who like a good mystery will enjoy this one.

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