Metaltown, where factories rule, food is scarce, and hope is in short supply. The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does. Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right. In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules. An enthralling story of friendship and rebellion, Metaltown will have you believing in the power of hope.
In a lot of ways, METALTOWN reminds me of LES MISÉRABLES by Victor Hugo. Ty, like Éponine, ends up poor and in the streets, fending for herself. Also, like Éponine, Ty is secretly in love with her best friend, a boy who does not share her romantic feelings. Colin, on the other hand, like Marius, has a slightly rebellious nature, making him want to protest and change life around him for the better. He, too, bands together with his friends to form a plan of action. Lena, conversely, like Cosette, has grown up largely sheltered from the world. She has lived a life of luxury, but feels like a trapped bird. Lena’s relationship with Colin is forbidden and unexpected, and has the potential to be very dangerous, similar to Marius and Cosette’s.
With that being said, METALTOWN is still quite original and compelling. Kristen Simmons’ writing is a breath of fresh air, her specialty being well-defined and crafted characters that are brutally realistic and multi-layered. The injustice of the world Simmon’s creates is devastating, and because I care so much for Ty, Colin, and Lena, I want them to have happy endings. As a result, much like the characters, I found myself wanting to hop on the bandwagon and fight against “The Man” alongside them.
Overall, METALTOWN is an absolutely heart-wrenching tale about survival, friendship, and love. The ending of the book had me in tears, but it was breathtakingly powerful and worth every minute.