Partials: The Partials Sequence, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Partials: The Partials Sequence, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Tense action, sharp plot twists distinguish dystopian tale.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The author's world-building in Partials is fairly sophisticated, and the science underpinning Kira Walker's quest for a cure to the RM virus feels realistic.

Positive Messages

One of Partials' major themes is: What makes us human? Is it empathy and compassion that sets us apart? Or does it just come down to genes? As Kira and her friends struggle to find a cure for the RM virus, they must weigh the costs of their actions against the genetically engineered Partials and decide whether they should cooperate with the supposed enemies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kira is a brave, dedicated 16-year-old medic-in-training who's devoted to the idea that she can find a cure for the virus that seems to kill every human baby within hours of its birth. She's so resourceful and knowledgeable about virology that she sometimes seems a little too good to be true. But the author has good reasons for presenting her in this fashion, and that strategy pays off well in the novel's final chapters.

Violence

Given its post-apocalyptic setting, Partials is appropriately violent without becoming unnecessarily graphic. As Kira and the survivors on Long Island seek a cure for the RM virus, they get involved in various firefights, hand-to-hand combat, and a riot. A captured Partial is tortured, but the act isn't directly described.

Sex

Because the survivors desperately want to repopulate the human race, they mandate that all women over the age of 18 be impregnated, either naturally or by artifical insemination, as often as their bodies will allow. Kira and her friends spend a lot of time debating the Hope Act, which establishes this breeding program. The young characters seem to marry early but rarely mention premarital sex. Kira and her boyfriend Marcus intend to marry someday, and they sometimes behave flirtatiously around each other, but their physical relationship is barely hinted at.

Language

The characters occasionally use swear words like "damn," "hell," "jackass," "a--hole" and "bastard," usually while under extreme stress.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No mention of smoking or the use of recreational drugs. A young supporting character, frustrated and scared at the thought of being forced to become pregnant, gets drunk in one short scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Partials is the action-packed first installment of a science fiction series with a strong female protagonist. Set in a post-apocalyptic New York in which 99 percent of the human popular has been killed by a weaponized virus, it features a fair amount of violence, some language, and much discussion of the Hope Act, which mandates that all women over 18 become pregnant as soon as possible. But actual sexual content isn't particularly graphic.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byGRACE_Bookworm June 16, 2013

Awesome Dystopian book for pre-teens/teens

This is a wonderful and intense story about love, sacrifice, perseverance, dedication, and survival. After over 99% of humans were wiped out by a mysterious and... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byJade98 January 9, 2016

What's the story?

Eleven years after the Partials wiped out 99 percent of the human race with the weaponized RM virus, 16-year-old medic-in-training Kira Walker hatches a desperate plan to save her species. Disobeying the middle-aged Senators, who've mandated that all women over 18 be impregnated as soon as possible, Kira and a small group of allies set off from their stronghold on Long Island to journey to New York City and kidnap a Partial. They plan to study one of the engineered organic beings and perhaps find a cure for RM, but they have no way to expect the revelations that their mission uncovers.

Is it any good?

In a market glutted with post-apocalyptic tales featuring spunky heroines, PARTIALS stands apart. The world-building is complex, and the plot's scientific underpinnings ring true. The action is intense, but the bloodshed isn't gratuitous. Main character Kira first seems a little too good to be true, but the author has a few tricks up his sleeve for her and the readers. This is only the first volume of a proposed trilogy, and it will leave many readers eagerly awaiting the next installment without feeling that the author is stringing them along.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it might be like to be forced to become a parent at age 18. If the human race were threatened with extinction, would a plan like the Hope Act, which mandates that all young women 18 and older get pregnant as soon as possible, make sense?

  • The Partials look like human beings but don't seem to age and are genetically engineered for their extraordinary healing powers. Would it ever be OK to use widespread genetic engineering to "improve" humans? Why or why not? 

  • How do people continue with their work and lives in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds? Kira and her colleagues at the hospital, for example, must continue working while knowing that every baby they deliver will probably die quickly of the RM virus. 

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