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WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear–to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
Pixie: I am officially no longer an Ann Aguirre virgin & let me tell you, this book blew me away. I’m so glad Pam has been on me to read Ms. Aguirre’s work!
Spaz: HOORAY!! I am so happy that not only you got to finally read an Ann Aguirre book, but that we got to read this one together! I have all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings right now, awwwww!
What Spaz enjoyed the most about Enclave: Deuce starts out as a tiny amoeba in this book, she is fed information and does as she is told and has no imagination when it comes to what lies outside of her tribe except what the larger fish tell her. Watching her discover and question things for the first time in her life is an incredible experience. As she learns just how tiny the world she has been living in truly is, we really feel as though we are feeling and seeing the sun for the very first time with her. Experiencing rain, and snow. The way the roads are described, and the ocean and all of the things we see every day and take for granted that are no longer serving any use to us as a society. I also loved the comparison and contrasts of the two main societies Deuce has now experienced… The College Enclave and the Gangers of Topside. Deuce has the somewhat unique ability to critically compare the two and see the merits and failures of both which is a very mature level of insight and one that was not encouraged in her underground life. We see her transform from a girl who was just a number, to a true Huntress in every meaning, but one who also inherently tries to balance her surviving instincts with the nurturing compassion of a Breeder.
I really have to point out that in the Author’s Note, Ms. Aguirre notes the resources she went to for research in building the worlds of Enclave. Two sources she noted are two that I have seen and read and was enamoured with. Life After People on the History Channel and Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth. I really recommend to everyone to check out the sources Ms.Aguirre lists after reading the book, they truly add that much more authenticity to the story of Deuce!
Pixie: I agree with Spaz 100%! Just the way Ms. Aguirre wrote things we see everyday & how scary they would be for someone used to living underground chilled me. The world building was like nothing I have ever read before, I could feel the fear when Deuce feels the sun for the first time. I loved that Deuce grew as a person as well & started to realize everything isn’t always what you’ve been told it is, that you have to experience things yourself. Plus I’m a big fan of anything having to do with Mole People, I’ve been fascinated with that life for years so that was a great addition.
Spaz’s Favorite Character Name: Pinwheel. What made me giggle was Deuce’s description of it: ”It was a terrible name, and the girl who owned it scowled at me.”
Pixie’s Favorite Character Name: Skittle. I kid you not, as soon as I saw that name I had an INTENSE craving for skittles. I actually stopped reading to go to the store & get some. Spaz & I also had an ongoing joke with the name Watho. It made me snicker something fierce. “Watho.” “No WHAT HO” “No WATHO” “Pixie shut up”
(One of) Spaz’s Favorite Parts: When the Wordkeeper very formally called Deuce, Stone and Thimble to meet so he could share with them what their document said. As he read the document, it was quite clear it was a wedding invitation. The invitation was an absolute mystery to them, and their discussion on what such a thing as a wedding could possibly be truly captured just how isolated from the history of humans their tribe had become.
(One of) Pixie’s Favorite Parts: The very first sentence “I was born during the second holocaust.” The meaning behind that sentence, the power behind those words. It drew me right in. Ms. Aguirre has a way with words that make even the simplest, everyday thing 40 times more meaningful.
Pixie’s Favorite Quote:
“People’s actions came from their value” – Deuce
Spaz’s Favorite Quote:
He’d said the sun could burn me. It certainly looked angry enough, all orange and glowing mad. I peered up at it through the dark filter, through the glass, and wondered how we could’ve lost all memory of something so huge. Down in the enclave, there had been no talk of day or night, no mention of anything but burning air and water that scalded like fire. Somehow we’d mixed everything up. Sorrow rose in me, as I realized the Wordkeeper dedicated his whole life to lies. What a waste. – Deuce
If you haven’t read a YA in a long time, Enclave is the book that will make you love the genre all over again. Enclave is dark, gritty & full of life against all odds.