Tankborn by Karen Sandler
Published on 10/1/2011 by Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
I nearly didn’t finish this book, but I am oh so glad I stuck with it!
In this YA sci fi novel, author Karen Sandler tells the story of best friends Kayla and Mishalla- GENs (Genetically Engineered Nonhumans) who, upon their fifteenth birthday, are sent on their assignment. You see, when a GEN reaches that age, they leave their nurture mother and assume the role they were artificially created for- to be a thankless drudge to trueborns. Trueborns- the first class, elite of society, were born humans, whereas GENs were gestated in a tank; a blend of human and animal DNA resulting in neurological differences and a telling tattoo on their cheek. As if their physical disparities didn’t separate them enough, a strict caste system ensured that GENs, lowborns, and trueborns all kept to their respective roles and places.
Only, Kayla’s assignment as caretaker to a wealthy and influential trueborn ends up being challenging in more ways than one. Secrets, near-reset experiences, and a handsome grandson all serve to complicate matters. Then the children Mishalla is assigned to care for keep going missing, and danger and intrigue follow her as well. Will they be able to solve the mysteries surrounding their respective assignments, or will they be reset and realigned trying?
I loved, loved LOVED the world building in this novel! The concept of genetic engineering, the elaborate construction of an alternative society, the complex technology, the religious beliefs held by the main characters… it was great! Plus, it starred characters who weren’t the typical blonde haired, blue eyed heroines! So refreshing! Yay for diverse books!
On the flip side, I almost didn’t finish the book. Within the first thirty percent, the slang was confusing, the new world baffling, and the main character was swooning over a trueborn’s hunky shoulders (well, that was at three percent… talk about love at very first sight!). It was so difficult to get into, I would have given it up if hadn’t been for the fact that…
I met the author at a book signing at Barnes & Noble!! Check out the picture!
We gushed about how important reading is to be a good writer, the fun bookish peeps she met at ALA, and the secrets a successful marriage (Sandler’s been married for thirty three years!). And LOOK! LOOK! The first book personally signed to us here at ChickLitChickadees! Whippee!
Even though it started out as probably a two, Tankborn finished as a solid four. A really good read! And Karen Sandler is a doll!