In a futuristic society run by an all-powerful Gov, a bender teen on the cusp of adulthood has choices to make that will change her life—and maybe the world. Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Where did she come from? Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? What are you? people ask, and Kivali isn’t sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she’s in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she’s ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift—the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her? A coming-of-age story rich in friendships and the shattering emotions of first love, this deeply felt novel will resonate with teens just emerging as adults in a sometimes hostile world.
A wholly unique story told from the point of view of in-between Kivali - who everyone calls Lizard. In a near future that is eerily different from our own world, Kivali is sent to CropCamp for the summer. There she will learn to follow all the rules, work hard, and become a good citizen. But little Kivali - Lizard - is confused, because her foster mother, Sheila, never would have sent her to Camp without provocation. Why is she at Camp? Why is Sheila being so secretive and strange in her messages? And why does Lizard sometimes really enjoy being at CropCamp, despite the strict regulations, curfews, and mind-bending Tenets?
Lizard is a girl who might decide she's a boy, a bender, and she's in-between in most other parts of her life, too. Leader or follower - independent or community-driven? Lizard needs to decide before the Camp Leader makes up her mind for her. But Lizard makes friends at camp - fiery Sully and tiny Rasta - and if she's going to ask the difficult questions then her friends are going to get tangled up in it, too. Lizard doesn't shy away from the tough questions - she walks right up and stares them in the face. This is who she is, and LIZARD RADIO is an eye-opening story about Kivali discovering that she can be in-between and still be herself.
The world-building is fascinating and clever. With 1984-style jargon, some readers may find it a little difficult to adapt to Kivali's strange Camp world, but soon they'll be immersed in the culture of Pievilles and CounCircle, kickshaw and chippies. In the style of Alaya Dawn Johnson's THE SUMMER PRINCE, LIZARD RADIO addresses the issues of freedom and choice, gender and sexuality, in a world reminiscent of Orwell's 1984. LIZARD RADIO is a unique and powerful novel with a strong story that will leave readers with many questions of their own to answer about themselves.
Strong voice, and very character-driven.
Eye-opening questions about gender and freedom of choice.