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YA Review: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Title: The Toll
AuthorNeal Shusterman
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction (dystopian)
Pages: 625
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map): USA (TX), Brazil, Marshal Islands, sub-Saharan Africa

FTC Disclosure: I bought this with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Citra and Rowan have disappeared. Endura is gone. It seems like nothing stands between Scythe Goddard and absolute dominion over the world scythedom. With the silence of the Thunderhead and the reverberations of the Great Resonance still shaking the earth to its core, the question remains: Is there anyone left who can stop him?

The answer lies in the Tone, the Toll, and the Thunder.

In a world that's conquered death, will humanity finally be torn asunder by the immortal beings it created?

Review: How excited was I when I saw that this book came out this past week?! I really enjoyed the first two books in the series (Scythe and Thunderhead) so immediately got myself a copy. And, I'll confess, I am reading it carefully since I'll give it to one of my nieces for Christmas because she has loved the series as much as I have. Yes, I am that person who reads the book first.

I always have trouble in the beginning of a book in a series because I can never quite remember where we left off and who is whom. But once I got back into the rhythm of the Scythedom, I was in!

This book (and the others in the series) have so many characters and so much going on that one really has to focus so as not to get lost. There are scythes (those that kill and control earth's population), Rowan, Citra, Greyson, the Thunderhead, and then tons of others as well. And though some of them are awful human beings, they are all so necessary to the plot.

And what a crazy plot it is. Shusterman deals with issues that are basic to all of humanity, the trajectory we are on, and where it could lead us. He also deals with gender fluidity in this novel and does it well. The best line of the whole book is when the nastiest character of all says "only stupid people build walls." Ah, Shusterman, slipping in political commentary. Nicely done.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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