Full disclosure: I have met Dan Wells several times, and he was super nice. A couple of times we were on the same cruise ship. Somehow we have yet to play a boardgame together.
I've read a lot of YA novels, and, as I have said several times, I'm not usually a fan. Partials manages to check all of the appropriate boxes when it comes to modern YA and yet somehow I managed to not hate it.
There's a post apocalyptic setting that manages to stay interesting not, so much in the history of the fall but in the struggles of the remnants of the old world trying to hang on to something. Partials sets itself apart in that most of the novel is not about forging a new future, but instead clawing at the left over bits of the past that they've managed to hold on to. There's a young female protagonist struggling against the leadership of her little society. There's an enemy out there who's a metaphor for oppressed minority, but maybe also they are the evil force everyone claims.
There's a lot of boxes checked, and if that's all there was it wouldn't have been enough to hold my attention. It's the little things that kept me reading. There's a lot of twisting politics and cultural upheaval that feel genuine and un-contrived. There's real consequences for the bleeding heart actions of the protagonist. The governmental evil force isn't as cut and dry as the usual empire clone.
I enjoyed this one, but I didn't continue on in the series. Ultimately the things I liked didn't overcome my dislike for the usual tropes of the genre. Partials gets three stars out of five.
Stick around for Bluescreen in a couple weeks where in I will gush over Dan Wells latest YA entry.