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How We Became Wicked
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How We Became Wicked
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When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy "trues" and the infected "wickeds" in this gripping dystopian tale from the...
When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy "trues" and the infected "wickeds" in this gripping dystopian tale from the...
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Description-

  • When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy "trues" and the infected "wickeds" in this gripping dystopian tale from the author of The Winter Place.
    A plague, called Wickedness, is pulsing through the world; and in its wake, it's dividing the population into thirds:

    The WICKED: Already infected by the droves of Singers, the ultraviolet mosquito-like insects who carry the plague, the Wicked roam the world freely. They don't want for much—only to maim and dismember you. But don't worry: They always ask politely first.

    The TRUE: The True live in contained, isolated communities. They're the lucky ones; they found safety from the Singers. And while the threat of the Wicked may not be eliminated, for the True, the threat has certainly been contained...

    The VEXED: The Vexed are the truly fortunate ones—they survived the sting of the Singers, leaving them immune. But they're far from safe. The Vexed hold the key to a cure, and there are those who will do anything to get it.

    In this brilliantly realized novel, three teens—Astrid, Hank, and Natalie—start to realize that the divisions of their world aren't as clear as they seem, and are forced to question what being wicked truly means.

About the Author-

  • Alexander Yates was born in Haiti and grew up in Mexico, Bolivia, and the Philippines. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed adult novel Moondogs, and YA novels The Winter Place and How We Became Wicked. Also a photographer, he lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with his wife.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2019
    A town's tarnished history is revealed in this dystopian tale. The mosquitolike singer's bite carries wickedness, turning any human into a "grinning, homicidal maniac." Immune and purple-eyed thanks to the usually fatal--for every child in town who received it but her--vex inoculation, 16-year-old Astrid now chafes at her more-Stepford-than-survivalist life in the glass-encased, retirement village-like Goldsport. Astrid also rejects a seemingly predestined relationship with fellow 16-year-old Hank, the only other young person in town. Hank is unvaccinated and still vulnerable, a sidekick and dude in distress. He faithfully accompanies the acerbic Astrid after an encounter with an outsider inspires her to root out the (barely hidden) conspiracy, challenge a (dutifully dastardly) powermonger, and imperil (unnecessarily) her parents, Hank, and the town. Out on Puffin Island, also-vexed Natalie's hardscrabble life gets harder when her father leaves, her mother falls ill, and her "wicked" grandfather gets loose. Through intersecting adventures, both girls learn that the "true" (uninfected) may be more evil than the "wicked" (i.e., The Walking Dead). Rather than being rotting zombies, the sentient and speaking wicked look normal but commit violent acts. Yet this somewhat novel premise can't overcome the predictable plot arc, flat characters, and telegraphed twists or the unsettling scenes of destruction and torture. An unnecessary and uneven latecomer to the dystopian genre, an incongruous mix of Dahl-like whimsy and Dexter-like graphic violence. (Dystopian. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2019

    Gr 7 Up-Earth has met its apocalypse, and it involves insects. Mosquito-like hybrids carry the disease "wicked," and it spreads quickly. Victims gain a taste for violence, usually murdering their neighbors and family members with a childlike grin. Astrid has been raised in a glass-domed area, sheltered from the wicked, and protected by gallons of insecticide. When newcomers arrive in their encased town, they are asked The Question: What do you want? When asked repeatedly, those infected with wicked will invariably slip up and reveal their true intentions, like maybe seeing what you look like without skin. Astrid is uniquely immune to the disease. It was believed that if young children were exposed to the virus they would be "vexed," or immune. Unfortunately, this worked for only Astrid, and an entire generation of children, save two, died in the attempt, not to be replaced. Although her age-mate Hank did not die, he is not immune, and, like the other members of their community, must wear a bee suit whenever venturing out. Meanwhile, as Astrid and Hank delve into the history of the town, the lighthouse across the way springs to life, raising questions about possible other residents. This is a real page-turner, although jumps in perspective and time may prove problematic for reluctant readers. VERDICT Yates has spun a first-class sci-fi/horror story. The interactions with the wicked are truly macabre, but in the best way.-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2019
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Astrid is one of only two teenagers in the settlement of Goldsport, a fact that's a touchy subject with a tragic explanation. Natalie lives on an island with just her grandfather, pregnant mother, and, until recently, her father. In this future, the world has been decimated by a disease called the wickedness, spread by glowing purple insects called Singers that leave the infected?the Wicked?at once supremely violent and eerily childlike. But Astrid and Natalie are part of an incalculably small portion of survivors: they are Vexed, immune to the disease and of great interest to the rest of the world. As these brave heroines adventure for their lives, they learn just what "wicked" really is. Yates (The Winter Place, 2015) manages to make Natalie's infected grandfather far more sympathetic than many uninfected survivors, whose many shades of depravity make them no small threat. The vividly imagined and haunting landscape is not unlike the post-apocalypse world of The Walking Dead, in which communities struggle to govern themselves as they fend off both the infected but also fellow survivors in a lawless anarchy. A creative and philosophical take on a zombie-esque apocalypse with a perfectly executed final act twist. Promptly hand this one to lovers of smart, tense science fiction.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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