Author: Alexandra Duncan
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)
Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta, Georgia, since she was found outside its gates at the age of five. Now she's part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the Company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there's an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it's up to them to stop it from happening again.
Blight is a race against time, away from sickness and death and towards a possible truth, set in a future where seeds and crops are genetically engineered. Where corporations are in control of what we grow and what we eat.
All Tempest knows is being a guard at an AgraStar farm. Picked up as a child, working off the debt she accrued as the compound's staff raised her, she spends shifts looking through a rifle scope. Watching for scavengers hoping to steal from the rows and rows of corn AgraStar grows. Uses for food and fuel. Controls. She knows what she's been taught, what she's seen. That the company needs them to protect the corn, that the seeds are genetically modified to produce the best crop possible. She's tough and practical, believes in the company. Believes that they're protecting the corn from those who don't want to work to grow it. Until the attack and the explosion. Until she sees everything from the other side. Until she catches hold of AgraStar's secrets.
This is one of those books that imagines a future, takes a piece of current news and expands on it, imagines if it takes over, slightly similar to Mindy McGinnis' Not a Drop to Drink and its commentary on access to fresh water. Here, seeds are engineered and crops are kept behind fences. Protected by guards with rifles. Because the company will stop at nothing to ensure that their crops survive, that society owes them for keeping them supplied with food and fuel. It's fast-paced and tense, because lives are on the line. Tempest and Alder are on the run, trying to stay alive, to outrun the blight and the scavengers on their heels, but are they really headed for the right place? I would recommend this to those interested in near-future dystopian stories, books like Not a Drop to Drink or Megan Crewe's The Way We Fall.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)