Electric Kingdom
by Arnold, David

After a deadly Fly Flu spreads throughout the world, survivors Nico, her dog, young artist Kit, and the mysterious Deliverer roam the earth, seeking to evade the Flies and find a place where life and love can thrive again.

David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite, Mosquitoland, and The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. His books have been translated into a dozen languages.

*Starred Review* In a postapocalyptic New England where nearly everyone has been wiped out by ravenous swarms of "Flu-flies" and a mysterious illness, white 18-year-old Nico is sent by her ailing father on an eight-day trek in search of a "geological anomaly" that seems more fairy-tale portal than scientific plausibility. Elsewhere, after white 12-year-old Kit's mother dies, he and his adoptive siblings set out in search of a rumored haven for survivors. As Nico's and Kit's paths intersect, Arnold shifts between their third-person points of view, in addition to first-person sections following an enigmatic figure dubbed the Deliverer, whose pivotal role is gradually revealed. In its conception, this is an intricate piece of high-concept sf, yet Arnold guides the layered narrative with such clarity and control that the underlying complexity never disturbs the flow; rather, the underpinning questions cultivate tension. The world building has depth in spite of the oddly idyllic setting, and while danger-whether from Flies or malevolent humans-lurks around every copse, this isn't a thriller; it's less concerned with physical survival than existential ruminations on art, emotion, and humanity. Neither the characters nor the text meanders, though, instead marching at a steady pace, carried by crystalline prose, which echoes like poetry, towards a genuinely astonishing and moving conclusion. Accessible, sophisticated, and immensely satisfying. Grades 8-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

In a world where humanity has almost been wiped out, a teenage girl and her dog set out on a mysterious and potentially foolhardy journey. Nico and her parents survived the flu spread by ravenous Flu-flies by retreating to an isolated farmhouse, where they lived on supplies brought by the Deliverer. Then Nico‚??s mother fell ill and died. When it seems that her father will succumb as well, he tells her that a beloved story from her childhood is actually true and that she must travel to see for herself a certain geological anomaly. Nico sets out into woods she has only ever viewed from her window, quickly learning of the darkness that exists outside‚?"as well as the beauty. As her journey continues, she meets others, including Kit, a serious 12-year-old. They all sense that they have been here before‚?"that perhaps time runs in a loop. In this near-future setting, social constructs of our present day influence the story in a way that is well executed and resonant. Strange and off-kilter, this is not a simple post-apocalyptic novel but instead a quiet, philosophical exploration of humanity with a touch of science fiction around the edges. Defying strict genre categories, Arnold leaves readers wondering and unbalanced until the final page. Nico and Kit are White; other characters are Black and Jordanian. Perplexing yet satisfying: If time moves in a circle, is a linear narrative possible? (Post-apocalyptic. 13-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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