Review of Metaltown, by Kristen Simmons


by Kristen Simmons

Tom Doherty Associates, TOR Teen, 2016. 380 pages.

Metaltown is a gritty novel about a fight for justice in a futuristic factory town where kids are exploited.

We’ve got three narrators in the book. The first is Ty, a tough-as-nails, doesn’t-let-anybody-close girl who works in Small Parts, making the delicate parts of weapons.

Ty is the one who helped the second narrator, Colin, survive when his family came to Metaltown. Now Colin’s mother’s partner is sick with the dreaded corn flu, and as the book opens, he runs an errand for Jed, the boss of the Brotherhood. Ty doesn’t like it. Jed can’t be trusted.

The third narrator is from a whole different world. Lena is the daughter of the man who owns the factories. She lives in luxury while her brother pretends to be interested in the business. Lena wants to be involved in management. She wants to find out what’s going on. When she takes steps to do so, she finds more than she bargained for.

We’ve got kids struggling to survive here, and the code of the streets. When Lena stumbles among them, they’re already starting to hope for change. But the kids are up against very powerful forces.

This is a novel of good versus evil, of little folks versus big power, and of doing what’s right versus corruption. The story will keep you turning pages, rooting that somehow our protagonists can come through despite everything stacked against them.

The setting is some sort of bleak future world dominated by war, disease, and hunger. But people’s hearts are still the same.

Personally, I didn’t like the idea that this was set on future earth and humans would go back to child labor like this. But if you accept the setting — this is a powerful story, and kept me turning pages, rooting for the characters.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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