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Check It Out: Scaled by J.T. Ashmore

This is Barb Gross with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to “Check it Out.” 

Today, I’m recommending ScaledBook One of the Deep Skin young adult trilogy by J.T. Ashmore, which is a pen name for two brilliant local writers you may recognize. Tricia Currans-Sheehan and Jeanne Emmons, both well-known for their years at Briar Cliff University, teamed up to write Scaled and the other two books in this science fiction series. 

In the opening scene of the book, a meteor carrying alien DNA strikes the Earth in the Midwest. Zack, a teenager living close to the crash site, rushes out to investigate and becomes “infected.” He and many other teens start to develop iridescent scales on their bodies, which causes widespread alarm among authorities who fear that the condition is contagious and could be the start of a pandemic.

Zack and two unlikely friends – a nerdy girl named Hilde and a gay teen named Silas – go on the run. The story is fast-paced, with action and a bit of romance, and all of the joy and anguish you’d expect from a coming-of-age story.

Scaled is based on an intriguing sci-fi premise, but it was the characters that made this book memorable for me. Zack, Hilde, and Silas come alive on the page as they grapple with being outcasts, facing hate and prejudice because they look different. They also discover that the bonds of love and friendship can make the darkest days worth living.

Check out Scaled, and other books by local authors, at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.