- Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
On Internment, a vast section of the Earth suspended miles above the planet’s surface in a protective atmospheric bubble, a small community has managed to flourish into a peaceful, safe, and prosperous city. When a young woman is gruesomely murdered, however, the king places the entire community under surveillance to find the killer. Sixteen-year-old Morgan Atmus wishes she could simply feel safe again in the home of her protective family and the arms of her affectionate betrothed. Instead, she finds herself intrigued by the victim’s blasphemous writings, which have mysteriously started appearing around town, and increasingly unable to resist her curiosity about the world below them. Her questioning leads to the discovery of a secret society intent on undermining everything her community believes in, and Morgan must decide: will she choose a life of safe ignorance, or risk everything for a chance to learn what lies beyond the edge? Myth-based world-building creates the perfect set-up for this intense, thoughtful novel about the limits of faith and reason. Well-crafted and elegantly written, the title offers a well-paced alternative to the high-octane, action-centered stories of much recent young adult science fiction. Morgan herself is a compelling heroine, more a thinker than a fighter, and the narrative draws readers into her intellectual journey without neglecting its emotional and deeply personal impact. A memorable cast of secondary characters, including both rebels and true believers, rounds out the story, giving weight to both Morgan’s desire for the status quo and her willingness to risk death for a better world. Her departure from Internment at the novel’s end may not wrap up the story arc, but it creates definite excitement for expected sequels.