by Heather Jane
After a series of world wars that divided the United States and left its cities abandoned, the surviving citizens live in small towns. The government provides for their basic needs and oversees the education of the children. The schools use standardized tests in the senior year to determine which job in the community each student will be assigned to, and it’s time for Gwen to take the exams.
Gwen is not thinking about the tests or what type of work she wants to do. She and her best friend Ruth are in love, and they dream of starting their lives together after exams. But Gwen is also keeping a secret from her mother and Ruth, as well as the government officials administering the tests. If the secret is discovered, it has the potential to tear apart the simple life she has always known.
Leona is one of the soldiers guarding the hallways of Gwen’s school. She seems to be everything that Ruth isn’t. Leona’s dark beauty and long wavy locks are a stark contrast to the sparkle and sunshine that come with Ruth’s short cropped blonde hair. Where Ruth is spirited and defiant of her father, the school principal, Leona appears to be loyal to the government.
When Gwen and Ruth are separated, Gwen will do anything to find her way back to her first love. Meanwhile, Leona appears to offer help to rejoin Gwen and Ruth. Can she be trusted in a new friendship? Or more? Gwen will journey far from home through a land left behind by war and with limited resources to find her way back to love.