Many thanks to Anna Stileski, publisher at Bow’s Bookshelf, for inviting me to read and review the ARC of Wreckleaf by JD Steiner.
Designed as a disposable novelty, Nerissa’s kind was believed to be eliminated years ago. But after a fatal act of self-defense exposes her, the local authorities offer Nerissa and her family a solution: In exchange for their services, they are allowed to live under false identities in the most exclusive place on Earth—the island of Panacea—the lap of luxury for the world’s elite traveler.
With the opening of the tourist season and the launch of a new island-made product promising health and vitality, Nerissa makes a disturbing discovery. She and her family have become unwitting accomplices in a deadly experiment. Vowing to redeem her past, Nerissa sets out to expose the corrupt entity controlling both her kind and the humans she has grown to love. But what will her blind determination cost? Will she once again do more harm than good?
This novel, book one of an up and coming series, is due to release in March 2023.
This YA dystopian/fantasy had an intriguing plot and was even more well-written. I was entranced from the first page with beautiful descriptions of Nerissa’s species, where they lived, and how life has changed for them. I loved the character development and the missions the characters undertake, defying danger. The thrill of never quite knowing what Nerissa’s fate would be kept me turning pages.
I do think there were some areas of improvement. For example, I don’t think there needed to be as much detail on Nerissa’s work place, and more detail focused on either the corrupt government or her relationship with Devon. At times, I found Devon and Nerissa’s relationship unbelievable or perhaps underdeveloped, with fights and forgiveness happening far too quickly.
Also, note that there are some major trigger warnings for this book: sexual assault, domestic violence, death, and kidnapping all play a role here.
Overall, I do give this book four stars. I thought, despite the underdeveloped parts of the relationship, it was really well done and the writing flowed beautifully. I highly recommend to older YA readers (the violence may be too intense for younger ones) and adults who love dystopians. I’m excited to see how the series progresses in the future.