The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian

18079706What it’s about: In a future America, a few centuries after a mysterious “Storm” has wiped out most human life on Earth, Natasha works the Office of Mercy, which is charged with euthanizing any humans our animals Outside to spare them the suffering of being alive. Although taught since childhood the dubious ethics of her society, Natasha begins to question them when she goes Outside on a clean-up mission and encounters some of the people they have been targeting. Set in a futuristic dystopia (with a domed underground city–love those), this slim novel takes on issues like euthanasia and genocide.

Why I liked it: This is an interesting first novel from Ariel Djanikian. It’s a quick, entertaining read that can’t decide whether it wants to be YA or adult fiction. Some of the content seems too mature for teens, but the story itself is a bit too slender for an adult audience. Overall, though, I found the story to be entertaining and thought-provoking, but not too deep. As a character, Natasha makes choices, takes action and is sometimes wrong, which makes her seem more human. I am rating this as an older young adult read, rather than adult fiction, and for that audience, the quality is better than many similar books I have read. I will be watching this author, as I think she shows a lot of promise.

Who might like this: Older teens who enjoy such dystopias as The Hunger Games and Uglies.

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