Scythe by Neal Shushterman

Luke Holleran

If you’re looking for a darker science-fiction read, Scythe by Neal Shushterman might be for you. The story begins by jumping back and forth between two characters, named Citra and Rowan, as you start to learn the details of the cruel utopia this story occurs in. With the mortality rate at 0%, executioners, known as Scythes, keep the population under control by killing, or “gleaning” people daily. Many citizens live in fear that one day one may step through their door to sacrifice them for the overarching cause. 

Towards the beginning of the book, one particular Scythe takes an interest in the main characters, taking them under his wing as apprentices and giving them a new perspective on the purpose of the killing. The two, at first, are opposed to the ideas of the Scythedom (the overseeing government organization that manages all Scythes) and reject the idea of becoming one themselves, believing that the job is vile and unnecessary. However, the role is much more complicated and important than one might think, as it ensures the survival of the human race and impossibility of famine. As the book progresses, many key events change the trajectory of the story, intriguing readers at every page. So, if you’re looking for something action-packed but also emotionally moving, you might want to stop by the Glen Ridge Library sometime soon to pick up this novel.