Prodigy by Marie Lu
Penguin Books, 2013. ISBN 9780141339573
(Age: 12+) Recommended. June and Day are amazing characters that underpin the whole Legend series, and boy, are they fascinating to read about! June is the perfect military agent who lets instinct, military ability and keen sense of observation guide her. She's cold, calculating, and observing. The only one to make her relax is Day, who could win the hearts of the people from his personality alone. He's constantly putting other people's needs before his, and unlike June, lets his emotions cloud his vision. It's refreshing to read about a male that actually has emotions, and I enjoyed the contrast between them.
June and Day are public figures that have the most influence over the people and are recruited by Patriot rebels to overthrow the Republic and assassinate the new Elector Primo. June is sent to charm and mislead the new young Elector, and Day joins the Patriot's forces on the front line. As the young lovers are forced apart, other admirers attempt to emphasize their differences; Day has been brought up in the slums and he's been stricken by poverty all of his life, and June has been brought up as a preened prodigy with a life of aristocracy and refinement.
Prodigy brings forth a complexity between characters that many other novels fail to address. It's not just 'no matter what, love will bring us together'. It's more about what's best for each of them and how to utilise their skills and status the best.
The novel contains non-stop action and a high tension between soldiers and rebels. As June and Day individually uncover the truth behind the Republic, we learn how the Republic came to be, the richness of the Patriots and the Colonies of America. The author truly excels at creating a thrilling story heavy on military antics, politics and espionage.
Prodigy is an excellent sequel to the ground-breaking dystopian of Legend. Be aware that there's some gay themes here, before you recommend it to students.