Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Review copy generously provided by Macmillan
New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
Deuce was born in an enclave deep underground, and has been trained to be a Huntress. After her naming ceremony, she is paired with Fade, and older boy who is rumored to have been born topside. When news that a neighboring enclave has been wiped out by Freaks, humanoid mutants that menace the enclave’s borders, Deuce and Fade are sent to investigate. What they find is a slaughter unlike any they’ve ever seen, and questions that could alter their entire existence.
After standing up for a friend that has been framed for hoarding, Deuce and Fade are exiled to Topside, where Deuce will discover strength she never knew she had, and learn to rely on her growing bond with Fade. Once Topside, Deuce learns that not everything the enclave Elders taught was true, and Fade remembers what it was like to live aboveground. Among the gangers and roving bands of mutants, Deuce and Fade must fight for survival…and hope.Enclave is told from Deuce’s first person POV, and she is a tough, pragmatic, and smart heroine. I loved rooting for her as she fought through the many dangers thrown her way. Fade is a strong, quiet hero, and a perfect compliment to Deuce. Ann Aguirre’s descriptions of a burnt-out, ruined America are chilling, and Enclave is a wonderful novel of post apocalyptic survival and the bonds of friendship and love. Among the many recent dystopian releases, Enclave is a standout! Highly recommended!