Bk. 1. 304p. (The Blackcoat Rebellion Series). Harlequin Teen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780373210558.
Gr 10 Up—Kitty isn't destined for greatness. She lives in a dystopian America a few generations into the future. She's grown up in a group home, due to her status as a second child in a society where fertility is controlled. A reading disability prevents her from acheiving a desirable score on the national placement test that determines caste. She has no money, no opportunity, and no chance at a secure future with her boyfriend, Benjy. Kitty is out of options and attempts a career as a prostitute. When the powerful and cruel Prime Minister, Daxston Hart, offers to transform Kitty into an exact replica of his deceased niece, Kitty has new opportunities, and dangers, that she never imagined. While Carter doesn't break any new ground in teen dystopian literature with Pawn, she executes the elements of the genre expertly-the tempo is brisk, the tension is deeply felt, the protagonist is a great reader's proxy, and the villains are smooth and terrifying. Kitty is a brash, imperfect hero, and readers will root for her every step of the way as she makes tough decisions to protect her loved ones and stay true to her pre-Lila identity and values. The secondary characters are thinly drawn, but the actions and plot twists will keep readers satisfied and waiting for more in the series. Recommended for teens who enjoy political intrigue and action thrillers, as well as other popular dystopian novels.—Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
In a future dystopia, Kitty lives in a caste system determined by intellectual merit. Illiteracy dooms her to a life of cleaning sewers or prostitution, until the country's leading family offers her another option and opens her eyes to the society's corruption and inhumanity. A weakly wrought romantic triangle undermines Carter's social critique, but the labyrinthine plot keeps pages turning.

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