Dread Nation

by Justina Ireland (Author)

Dread Nation
Reading Level: 8th − 9th Grade

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar--a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society's expectations.

But that's not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn't pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.Please note that this book has deckle edges (the edges of the paper are purposely rough).

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
"With a shrewd, scythe-wielding protagonist of color, Dread Nation is an exciting must-read. (Historical fiction/horror. 14-adult)"

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

In this alternate-history horror tale, shortly after Jane McKeene was born, the dead rose and attacked the living, effectively ending the Civil War. A reunified army fought the shambling hordes until Congress passed the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, requiring adolescent children of color to train for battle. At age 14, Jane--who is mixed race--enrolled at Miss Preston's School of Combat for Negro Girls, hoping to avoid conscription by becoming a socialite's bodyguard. Three years later, Jane is close to earning her attendant certificate when she, her ex, and her rival stumble across a dastardly plot hatched by Baltimore's elite. First in a duology, Ireland's gripping novel is teeming with monsters--most of them human. Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuilding, and a brave, smart, and skillfully drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and immorality of racial discrimination and examines the relationship between equality and freedom. Mounting peril creates a pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers toward a nail-biting conclusion that inspires and will leave them apprehensive about what's to come. Ages 14-up. Agency: Donald Maass Literary. (Apr.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 9 Up--Slavery comes to a halt when the dead on Civil War battlefields begin to rise and eat their compatriots. The north and south put aside their philosophical differences and join forces against the undead. They are aided in their efforts by the passage of the Native and Negro Reeducation Act which forces African American boys and girls into combat schools. Graduates from these schools are a buffer between the living and the undead. Jane McKeen is a biracial girl sent to Ms. Preston's school of combat to obtain an attendant certificate. Jane is about to graduate when her friend, Red Jack, asks for help locating his sister Lily. Jane's attempts to discover Lily's whereabouts land her in a survivalist colony. Survivalists advocate a disordered view of natural selection that places Jane firmly under the thumb of a vicious sheriff and his psychopathic family. Jane is tasked with finding a way out of Summerland not only for herself, but also for those she loves. She must make some unlikely alliances of her own if she is to survive long enough to find her own path to freedom. This is a fictional exploration of the chattel slavery and American Indian boarding school systems. Ireland skillfully works in the different forms of enslavement, mental and physical, into a complex and engaging story. VERDICT A perfect blend of horrors real and imagined, perfect for public and school libraries and fans of The Walking Dead.--Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This highly anticipated release is getting lauded as equal parts exciting, terrifying, and oh-so-relevant. Crackles on every page."—Brightly
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780062570604
Lexile Measure
870
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
April 20, 2018
Series
-
BISAC categories
YAF001020 - Young Adult Fiction | Action & Adventure | Survival Stories
YAF046120 - Young Adult Fiction | People & Places | United States - African American
YAF058190 - Young Adult Fiction | Social Themes | Prejudice & Racism
YAF041000 - Young Adult Fiction | Monsters
YAF024160 - Young Adult Fiction | Historical | United States - Civil War Period (1850-1877)
YAF070000 - Young Adult Fiction | Zombies
Library of Congress categories
-

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