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Reader’s Advisory: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

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Greenwillow Books, $17.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0062220144, April 2014

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

Space, the final frontier… Also, space, the latest YA fad. Make no mistake, though, this isn’t alien boy/human girl star-crossed space fluff. No, welcome to a brave, brilliant, and utterly enjoyable feminist space odyssey.

Although it’s compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, Salvage takes place on a much broader canvas and is not about a woman escaping an oppressive polygamist regime, but about a young girl cast out of an oppressive polygamist regime and her struggle to stay alive and find a place for herself in a societal structure that’s utterly foreign. (Oh, also, it’s nothing like Across the Universe¬†aside from the “in space” part.)

Decidedly feminist though it may be, Salvage never becomes preachy. Ava’s journey and growth feel completely organic, and when she makes her choice between her new life and her old love, readers will want to applaud.

Recommend to: Scifi fans, readers who like strong heroines

To buy or not to buy: A great choice for any YA department

 

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