A queer, YA Handmaid’s Tale meets Never Let Me Go about a dystopian society bent on relentless conformity, and the struggle of one girl to save herself and those she loves from a life of lies.
by Stephanie Oakes
Dial/ Penguin Young Readers, September 2023
Everyone hopes for a letter—to attend the Estuary, the Pines, the Glades, the Meadows. These are the special places where only the best and brightest go to burn even brighter.
When Eleanor gets her letter, she knows she’s freed from her hardscrabble life by the sea, in a country ravaged by climate disaster. But despite the Meadows’ luminous facilities, endless fields, and pretty things, it keeps dark secrets.
Four years later, Eleanor and her friends seem free of the Meadows, changed but not in the ways they expected. Eleanor is an adjudicator, ensuring her former classmates don’t stray from the lives they’ve been conditioned to live.
But Eleanor can’t escape her past, or thoughts of the girl she once loved. Because Rose isn’t here anymore. And as secrets emerge that force Eleanor to grapple with her history, she must wage a dangerous battle for her own identity and for the full truth of what happened to the girl she lost, knowing if she’s not careful, Rose’s fate could be her own.
Stephanie Oakes is the author of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, which was a Morris Award finalist and a Golden Kite Honor book, and The Arsonist, which won the Washington State Book Award and was an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick. An elementary school librarian, Stephanie lives in Spokane, Washington with her wife and family.