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About The Book

When an insect-borne plague begins to envelop the world, three sixteen-year-olds struggle to survive amongst the healthy “trues” and the infected “wickeds” in this gripping dystopian tale from the author of The Winter Place.

A plague, called Wickedness, is pulsing through the world; and in its wake, it’s dividing the population into thirds:

The WICKED: Already infected by the droves of Singers, the ultraviolet mosquito-like insects who carry the plague, the Wicked roam the world freely. They don’t want for much—only to maim and dismember you. But don’t worry: They always ask politely first.

The TRUE: The True live in contained, isolated communities. They’re the lucky ones; they found safety from the Singers. And while the threat of the Wicked may not be eliminated, for the True, the threat has certainly been contained…

The VEXED: The Vexed are the truly fortunate ones—they survived the sting of the Singers, leaving them immune. But they’re far from safe. The Vexed hold the key to a cure, and there are those who will do anything to get it.

In this brilliantly realized novel, three teens—Astrid, Hank, and Natalie—start to realize that the divisions of their world aren’t as clear as they seem, and are forced to question what being wicked truly means.

About The Author

Photograph © Alex Yates

Alexander Yates was born in Haiti and grew up in Mexico, Bolivia, and the Philippines. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed adult novel Moondogs, and YA novels The Winter Place and How We Became Wicked. Also a photographer, he lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with his wife.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (July 23, 2019)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481419864
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® HL700L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Yates skillfully crafts this dystopian horror, bringing together the parallel plotlines in a stunning, gut-punching fashion and twisting both stories with new revelations."

– BCCB, starred review

"A first-class sci-fi/horror story."

– School Library Journal

"The vividly imagined and haunting landscape is not unlike the post-apocalypse world of The Walking Dead.... A creative and philosophical take on a zombie-esque apocalypse with a perfectly executed final act twist. Promptly hand this one to lovers of smart, tense science fiction."

– Booklist, starred review

"This dystopian story contains all the plot twists, rebelliousness of youth, and bits of romance that will make it a popular read."

– School Library Connection

Awards and Honors

  • Thumbs Up! Award Top Ten Title (MI)
  • Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers Nominee
  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List High School Title
  • Westchester Fiction Award (CA)
  • Evergreen Teen Book Award List (WA)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Alexander Yates