Scythe (Art of the Scythe #1)
Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.
In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal’s talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful “How to Host a Mystery” game for teens, as well as seven “How to Host a Murder” games.
As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the “Goosebumps” and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.
Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers — such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal’s novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.
Of Everlost, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman has reimagined what happens after death and questions power and the meaning of charity. While all this is going on, he has also managed to write a rip-roaring adventure…”
Of What Daddy Did, Voice of Youth Advocates wrote; “This is a compelling, spell-binding story… A stunning novel, impossible to put down once begun.
Of The Schwa Was Here, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman’s characters–reminiscent of those crafted by E. L. Konigsburg and Jerry Spinelli–are infused with the kind of controlled, precocious improbability that magically vivifies the finest children’s classics.
Of Scorpion Shards, Publisher’s Weekly wrote: “Shusterman takes an outlandish comic-book concept, and, through the sheer audacity and breadth of his imagination makes it stunningly believable. A spellbinder.”
And of The Eyes of Kid Midas, The Midwest Book Review wrote “This wins our vote as one of the best young-adult titles of the year” and was called “Inspired and hypnotically readable” by School Library Journal.
Neal Shusterman lives in Southern California with his children Brendan, Jarrod, Joelle, and Erin, who are a constant source of inspiration!
Publication Date: November 16, 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
My Thoughts & Takeaways
This is my first book by Neal Shusterman and I was pleasantly surprised. I was pretty sure this was right up my alley and I’m so glad I was right! Can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy.
In terms of Young Adult novels, this was pretty perfect for me. Scythe is set in a future world where humans have conquered death – in the traditional sense, at least. Elected and trained Scythes are responsible for culling the population.
Two teens become apprentice Scythes and not very enthusiastically and soon learn that there’s corruption amongst Scythes.
This YA novel brings up difficult questions that make one question things while still telling a wonderful story. I also appreciated that there was not an overbearing romantic aspect to it – something that is difficult to find amongst YA novels.