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'Remake' poses interesting questions about value of family
Ilima Todd
Ilima Todd is the author of "Remake." - photo by Provided by Deseret Book

REMAKE,“ by Ilima Todd, Shadow Mountain, $17.99, 288 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

“Remake” is a young adult science fiction novel by author Ilima Todd that poses interesting questions about life with and without family and relays a strong message about the positive nature of family life and love.

“Remake” takes place in a dystopian future where a virus has killed millions of people. In order to avoid overpopulation, a suspected cause of the virus, the survivors create a society called Freedom where families no longer exist.

Every month, a Batch of children -- 10 girls and 10 boys -- is made. The children grow up together and are kept equal and androgynous by the use of hormone suppressants and haircuts until they turn 17. At this point, they have a Remake Day where they choose their gender, looks, a Trade, a name and everything they want to personalize themselves for the rest of their lives.

Nine is the ninth of 10 females in her Batch and is on the verge of her Remaking. She is undecided about how she wants to be Remade even as she boards the shuttle to the Remaking facility. The only thing she knows is that with her red hair, pale skin and freckles, she is different from her peers and she wants to fit in.

On the way to the facility, the shuttle crashes into the ocean, and she washes up on an island inhabited by people who live in traditional families, hiding from the rest of society. Nine learns about both groups and must choose where she belongs and who she loves.

The language is clean, though there are scenes of fighting, nondescriptive deaths and violence against a pregnant woman. While there is no explicit sexual content, the characters talk frankly about sexuality and Nine’s changing body as she matures without the hormone suppressants. “Remake” is very female-centric.

The story is focused on Nine’s emotional journey, and the details of the world are frustratingly ambiguous. There are many common-sense issues that are ignored, and Nine is rarely a driving force. Instead, coincidence and circumstance continually make her choices seem obvious and scripted. Opportunities for real conflict seem to be overlooked, and it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to remain firmly in the world.

Despite its flaws, “Remake” is a decent introduction to a trilogy that opens the way for readers to learn what Nine’s differences really mean and how she fits into the bigger world.

(Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an avid reader who resolves to one day get through her TBR pile. Twitter: janastocks)