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Inspection
2019
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Summary
Boys are being trained at one school for geniuses, girls at another. Neither knows the other exists--until now. The New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box invites you into a world of secrets and chills in a coming-of-age story like no other.

"Josh Malerman is a master at unsettling you--and keeping you off-balance until the last page is turned."--Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Blackbirds

J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.

J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school's enigmatic founder as their father. J's peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know--and all they are allowed to know.

But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he's beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J's, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.

Praise for Inspection

"Creepy. . . a novel whose premise is also claustrophobic and unsettling, but more ambitious than that of Bird Box . . . Inspection is rich with dread and builds to a dramatic climax." -- The Washington Post

"This unlikely cross between 1984 and Lord of the Flies tantalizes." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Malerman builds a striking world. . . . As he did in Bird Box , Malerman's crafted an irresistible scenario that's rich in possibility and thematic fruit. . . . Where [ Bird Box ] confined us behind a blindfold, Inspection rips it off." -- The A. V. Club

"A must read . . . It's a wonderful thing, digging into a new Josh Malerman novel--no idea what to expect, no clue where his twisted mind is going to take you." -- Cemetery Dance
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Malerman's (Bird Box, 2014) latest has all of the claustrophobic tension his fans crave, but this time the monsters are 100 percent human. The 12-year-old Alphabet Boys live in a tower in the woods of northern Michigan. They have been raised by their D.A.D., Richard, in an isolated world where women don't exist, part of an experiment to see if separating the sexes will allow true genius to be cultivated. And if there is a boys' tower, there's probably a girls' tower too. Every narrator, including adults and kids of both sexes, is unreliable either a deliberate liar or raised in a false world so much so that readers can't rely on their own assumptions about rules of character and plot. Malerman makes the horror of this impossible experiment appear completely plausible while thoughtfully contemplating grand issues like nature versus nurture, gender roles, and scientific ethics all of that, plus he manages to create a satisfyingly oppressive atmosphere. And yet, for all of this serious intensity, Inspection feels effortless; the story flows easily and at a compelling pace: think Shirley Jackson writing Lord of the Flies (1954). Hand to fans of Margaret Atwood or Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005).--Becky Spratford Copyright 2019 Booklist
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