Review: Metaltown by Kristen Simmons

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Title: Metaltown
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher/Year:  Tom Doherty Associates 9/20/16
Length:   332 Pages

Overview

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.

My Thoughts

After reading another series by Ms. Simmons, i was really excited to see what we were going to get in this new story.  It’s a standalone which i feel like could have been built into a series, but it was an interesting story.

We find ourselves in what’s called Metaltown – an area in the Tri-City where there are factories owned by a wealthy family to make weapons for a war that’s being fought.  The people are beyond poor and there are specific factories for ‘kids and teens’ to work while the adults have other jobs. Life is beyond hard, and it’s the teens that we get to know in this story.

We meet Colin and Ty first – as they are the main characters throughout most of this story.  They work in Small Parts – building the fuses for bombs and as they are kids, they often don’t get paid what they should for the hours that they work.  Life’s not fair at all.  To make matters worse, there’s what’s called the Brotherhood which is an organization run by a man named Jed who’s supposed to be working for the people, he helps when someone gets injured on the job or gets sick etc, however it also means that part of your wages go to him so that he can hold it all over your head.

He dangles carrots in front of Colin – to have him help out on a few things, offering him money in return, and promising to continue to provide care for Cherish – his mom.  We all know that there are definite strings attached.

Then we meet Lena – she’s the daughter of Hampton – the man who owns and runs the factories.  Her brother is next in line to take over the business, but that’s not good enough for her.  She wants to learn more and does some digging and finds out that there are things going on in the business that aren’t savory and she’s also learned that there’s actually more to what makes up the company than is legitimate, and she wants to figure out that puzzle.

The story takes us on the journey of Lena coming into her own, no longer accepting that she’s a wealthy girl, but siding with the folks in Metaltown to do what’s right.  She has her own demons to fight for and this is a cause she can get behind.  What grows between her and the others, well that’s just a matter of time to figure out who trusts her, who thinks she’s a spy and who’s never going to be in her favor.

There’s also an underlying story here that there was a family who owned the medical division – the arm of the company that was trying to find a cure to the Corn Flu – an epidemic that’s killing people because of untested man made corn products.  There’s a story that the heir still lives, and no one knows if it’s true and where the heir is.

Throughout this story we see a lot of the expected coming of age stuff, while also getting a rather interesting story out of things.  There are some good relationships building here – Colin and Ty for example have this brother sister thing, but you can tell that there’s something more underneath.  at least from one.  When Lena comes into the picture, we find ourselves in a bit of a triangle which makes things all that more interesting.

When we discover the connections between the kids and the wealthy, and uncover who the missing heir is, it’s both expected and a surprise – and where we see the ending of this story go is quite bittersweet.  I think that it’s got all the expected signs of a great book by Ms Kristen Simmons – so i hope you give it a shot.  Enjoy!

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