Bound To Stay Bound

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 Author: Higuera, Donna Barba

 Publisher:  Levine Querido (2023)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 404 p., ill., map, 22 cm

 BTSB No: 444027 ISBN: 9781646142637
 Ages: 10-14 Grades: 5-9

 Dystopian fiction
 Drone aircraft -- Fiction
 Social classes -- Fiction
 Science fiction

Price: $23.28

For 400 years, Earth has been a barren wasteland. Surviving humans ban together in the cruel city of Pocatel or go it alone in the wilderness. Thirteen year-old pickpocket Leandro and his sister Gabi try to survive in Pocatel. When Leandro takes the blame for his sister's theft, he is exiled by having his consciousness placed inside an ancient drone, left to fend on its own. But beyond the walls of Pocatel lie others like him who seek a better world, as well as monsters, pirates, and more.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.70
   Points: 14.0   Quiz: 521003

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/15/23)
   School Library Journal (+) (09/01/23)
   Booklist (+) (12/01/23)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/23)
 The Hornbook (00/11/23)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 09/01/2023 Gr 4–9—Subtle worldbuilding, flesh-and-bone protagonists, and magnetic writing make this sci-fi companion to Newbery Award--winning The Last Cuentista an instant classic. To survive, orphan brother and sister Leandro and Gabi scavenge potatoes for their harsh employers. They are Cascabeles, the descendants of the farmers who worked the lands of the San Joaquin Valley before a disaster wiped out most of the world 400 years ago. They live under the subjugation of the cruel Pocatelans, under threat of exile for any minor infraction, in tent communities and dire conditions, afraid of monsters and starvation. Completely on their own, the siblings have to pickpocket to stay alive. Leandro takes the fall for Gabi when she gets caught stealing, and he is banished. Instead of a death sentence, he is transformed into a hummingbird drone and joins other machines, called alebrijes, named after the mystical creatures sculpted by Oaxacan artists. In his new form, Leandro uncovers a dangerous plot. With measured pacing and layered character development, Higuera's latest is a masterly exploration of how corruption is an indelible part of every oppressive society. It's also a celebration; there will always be a beacon of hope in dark times, fueled by stories and community. There are still reminders of the previous world that serve to remind readers that this society is not too different from our own. The Cascabeles speak Spanish; the Pocatelans speak English. VERDICT This gorgeously written post-apocalyptic novel is a must for every library.—Shelley M. Diaz - Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 08/08/2023 *Starred Review* Upon a desolate Earth, an enclave of humans has established a society amid hostile surroundings, including a wyrmfield inhabited by subterranean monsters straight out of Tremors. A harsh caste system has landed orphaned 13-year-old Leandro and his little sister, Gabi, in the Pox (Pocatel’s slum) with the other Cascabeles, who work the potato fields each day under the watchful eye of the Pocatelan guards. Longing for a better life, Leandro has planned an escape, but everything is ruined when he is arrested for stealing and sentenced to three years’ exile. Curiously, it will only be his mind that is held captive—uploaded into a tiny piece of Old-World tech called a spark. The physician performing the procedure secretly offers Leandro a deal in which she will place his spark into a hummingbird drone if he will search for her missing daughter, who is also in drone form. He accepts, knowing he and Gabi can leave Pocatel should he succeed. The high-stakes adventure awaiting Hummingbird Leandro is enthralling and studded with surprises that spur the narrative onward. Beautiful, imaginative writing fills this dystopian sf novel. Though it exposes cruelty and corruption, it raises up storytelling, culture, and kindness as stronger yet, giving a satisfying nod to Higuera’s Newbery Award–winning The Last Cuentista (2021) in the process. A wondrous addition to any collection. - Copyright 2023 Booklist.

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