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Monica Hesse, the Washington Post‘s most unexpectedly controversial Style section staff writer, has written a sequel to her first young adult novel. BURN follows STRAY, a dystopic tale set in D.C. that’s one part romance and two parts weird imagining of the American foster-care system. (Think more The Giver and less The Hunger Games, with zero shades of Twilight.)
BURN continues the story of Lona Sixteen Always, a teenaged girl named by the system she’s grown up in. In Hesse’s world, troubled or unwanted children are put on “Path,” a virtual reality in which they relive the life of a boy named Julian. Though perhaps technically science fiction, STRAY stayed grounded in our reality—with everyday details of D.C. life, like Metro, popping up as Lona escapes from Path and joins a band of rebels that includes a potential love interest.
Both STRAY and BURN were published by Hot Key Books in the United Kingdom, though readers in the U.S. can order them through Amazon’s British site. (BURN won’t be available until February 6 next year.) Hesse says she has no plans to turn the book duo into a trilogy.
“I didn’t get to answer all the questions I wanted to in STRAY, but BURN wraps everything up, airtight, all questions answered, no holds barred,” Hesse says. (I say if Edward and Bella can end up together, Fenn and Lona better be a couple by the end of BURN.)
Hesse is already “a few chapters in” to her next YA novel and says she is “shopping an adult satire project.”
Due to an editing error, the headline of this post originally misspelled Monica Hesse’s name.