Thunderhead | Neal Shusterman


Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.
512 pages. Kindle Edition.

Trigger Warning: violence and killing

About the Author: Neal Shusterman is the author of many novels for young adults, including Unwind, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, Everlost, and Downsiders, which was nominated for twelve state reading awards. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows such as Animorphs and Goosebumps. The father of four children, Neal lives in southern California.

To deny humanity the lesson of consequences would be a mistake. And I do not make mistakes.”

The Thunderhead sees the corruption rising in the scythes. It sees, like a god, but cannot act. Instead, it can only trust in Citra and Rowan, who take opposing sides on how to deal with the new order of scythes who revel in bloodshed. On one hand, Rowan kills the killers, giving them the same treatment they give their victims. On the other hand, Citra works with the traditionalist scythes to defend the order through law and uniting the faction.

While this sequel doesn’t bring up the same difficult questions of morality and human sustainability as the first one, it does display the level of corruption that can occur in any government, even one as humanitarian as the scythedom. The novel moves from conflict to conflict rapidly, maintaining suspense much more effectively than the first book, but is still prone to long discussions between characters that break the pace. Yet the questions about the nature of humanity, and what it would take to truly make the world peaceful and sustainable, make it an exceptional at widening your perspective.

PRR Editor, Kayla Wactor