Book Review: Metaltown

By: Kristen Simmons
Published by: Tor Teen
Release date: September 20, 2016
Genre: YA dystopian
380 pages
Source: hard copy kindly provided by publisher

I like YA dystopians because they both remind me of my humble upbringing, and make me thankful that though my childhood posed obstacles that had to be overcome, it was easy compared to what it could have been. Metaltown certainly reminded me of both.

The kids in Metaltown are real scrappers, doing whatever it takes to get by. The adults all work if they are able, and because those meager incomes don't provide enough, many of the kids do as well. Much of Metaltown is employed by a weapons company, kept consistently busy by an ongoing war. The desperation is thick and ever-present, as most residents live hand to mouth, planning just far enough into the future to find a way to feed themselves and to safely sleep through the night.

One of my favorite stage productions is Les Miserables. I see a lot of parallels in Lena, Colin, and Ty versus Cosette, Marius, and Eponine. The epic class difference, the possibility of romance as war rages on, and the boy who can't see the girl right in front of him- there are definitely similarities, though this is clearly not just a re-telling.

The book is story-driven, with characters who race from scene to scene at the breakneck speed of adolescent life. Once the maiden comes down from her ivory tower, the action heats up and takes a few unexpected turns.

This is a solid stand-alone; it's nice to have a complete story arc in one volume, with no year-long wait for then next book. Metaltown is a great read that can give you a great beginning and ending in a weekend of entertaining reading.

Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply.

The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does.

Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right.

In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.