The Hill

Dottir. Mar. 2021. 296p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781948340328.
Gr 7-10–Guided by a manual that teaches survival skills and paints boys as the enemy, the girls on an island are given assignments including hunters, suppliers, collectors, mothers, and smalls. These assignments are to prepare them for their departure at age 15 to the colony, a safe space on the Mainland, which is overcrowded and has been ruined by careless humans who have destroyed the environment. After a departure ceremony that sends all of the 15-year-olds to the Mainland, the oldest remaining young woman on the island, Wren, becomes Head Girl. As a collector, Wren scours the reclaimed garbage dump the hill is on for relics that can be repurposed for this band of survivors. When one of the girls goes missing, Wren and her friend Quinn trek through a forbidden area, where they come in contact with boys for the first time, and she begins to question the manual and what is really going on. Atmospheric and thought-provoking, this feminist dystopia features a diverse crew of survivors and a strong female protagonist who is smart and spirited. Chapter headers featuring excerpts from the manual are attention-grabbing and foreshadow the action. The gritty survival aspect of the island is sprinkled with just a pinch of romance. An intensifying pace keeps readers turning pages; as the girls prepare to take on the patriarchy, the conclusion is open-ended and alludes to a sequel.
VERDICT An engaging read sure to appeal to fans of feminist dystopian novels, especially those with survival aspects, such as Rory Power’s Wilder Girls.

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