To Best the Boys

352p. Thomas Nelson. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780718080969.
Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur questions her place as a second class citizen in the seaside town of Pinsbury Port. Rhen is determined to become a scientist so she can save her mom and others by developing a cure for the "crippling disease." The annual Labyrinth Examination, historically an all-male STEM competition sponsored by Mr. Holm, is her chance to win a scholarship to the prestigious Stemick University. She must disguise herself to enter the brutal contest, and if she survives, she will be forced to make life-changing decisions. Rhen's harrowing journey through the Labyrinth Examination forces her to determine what she really wants. Weber's fantasy delves into themes of social class, feminism, gender roles, and love. The book's gory beginning is not for the faint of heart, but fans of powerful protagonists will push through.
VERDICT A recommended general purchase.

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