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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


BLOG TOUR - Scorpion by Jeff Sweat - YA FICTION [Review + Giveaway]

Authors(s): Jeff Sweat
Publication Date: June 23, 2020
Edition: Hardcover, ebook; 432 pgs
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon - Kindle - Barnes & Noble  - iBooks - Kobo The Book Depository - Bookshop.org
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One
7/13/2020 - For the Love of KidLit - Excerpt 
7/13/2020 - JaimeRockstarBookTours - Instagram Stop 
7/14/2020 - Jaime's World - Excerpt 
7/14/2020 - The Try Everything/jenifer_reads - Excerpt 
7/15/2020 - Lifestyle of Me - Review 
7/15/2020 - Jazzy Book Reviews - Excerpt 
7/16/2020 - Fire and Ice - Review 
7/16/2020 - A Dream Within A Dream - Excerpt 
7/17/2020 - popthebutterfly - Review 
7/17/2020 - TheReadingCornerforAll - Review 

Week Two
7/20/2020 - Rajiv's Reviews - Review 
7/20/2020 - Rajiv's Reviews - Instagram Stop 
7/21/2020 - BookHounds YA - Interview 
7/21/2020 - Hurn Publications - Excerpt 
7/22/2020 - Two Chicks on Books - Interview 
7/22/2020 - Momfluenster - Instagram Stop 
7/23/2020 - Books and Zebras @jypsylynn - Review 
7/23/2020 - Buried Under Books - Review 
7/24/2020 - Two Points of Interest - Review 
7/24/2020 - Eli to the nth - Review

The Summary

In Scorpion, the sequel to Jeff Sweat's YA futuristic thriller Mayfly, Jemma, Lady, and Pico all left the Holy Wood to seek answers to the End, and when they find the Old Guys—the only adults to have survived the original wipeout of everyone over the age of seventeen—they think they've found help at last.

But there's a lot the Old Guys aren't telling them. In fact, some of them don't seem interested in solving the End at all and just want Jemma and her friends to leave. Meanwhile, war is brewing among the tribes of the rest of the Children. Jemma's old home has fallen into disorder, and is far from prepared for battle. It won't be long before the fighting reaches Jemma and the Old Guys, if they even live to see it.

Haven’t started the series yet? Grab Book 1, Mayfly, now!
My Review

Again Jeff Sweat knocks it out of the park.  I waited 2 years for the sequel to Mayfly, Jeff's debut dystopian set in a bleak future where no one lives beyond the age of 17 (check out my review of Mayfly)  Of course, that isn't quite as true as the kids thought.

Scorpion picks up right where Mayfly left off, with Jemma and the gang recovering with the "Old Guys" after their escape from Night Mountain.  The kids want to stop The End, and the Old Guys hold the answers.  But there are, of course, twists, obstacles, and danger around each corner.  Jemma, Pico, Grease, and Lady are all they have, their own tribe of Mayflies, trying to survive in a world set on the precipice of combustion.  

The world-building is, again, the strength of the book.  The world of Ell Aye and beyond, as the kids travel further out and further into the world they thought they knew, is large and detailed.  The reader learns more about the time before "The End" along with the kids, and the reader is sucked right in.  Some of the things the reader learned in book 1 are flipped on their head, others are built upon, but no matter what page your on, you are glued to the story.

Action-driven, fast-paced, and a little dangerous, Scorpion leads to a whammy of an ending, one that I found very satisfying.  I could read more and more about this world, but the book leaves on a hopeful note (and that's all I can say about that).  Jemma continues to be a kick-ass heroine, with her gang of indispensable companions. Following along besides the Mayflies, you yearn for them to triumph and, more than that, thrive.

If you are looking for a satisfying sci-fi duology, Mayfly and Scorpion by Jeff Sweat are necessary reads.  Fans of Neal Shusterman and  Suzanne Collins will enjoy the heck out of these books!

Final Rating


Prologue: The Ice Cream Man Massacre

Jemma has never rested this long in her life. No one has. She’s been awake two days, and most of it has been spent in bed. In the world before the Camp, no one stopped working unless they were dying.

She hates it. Lady left of boredom hours ago, her bullet energy finally too much for the hospital room, and Jemma has no one to talk to. That’s enough to make Jemma decide to explore the Camp. Good thing she can finally move without puking. She rises to her feet, glad they let her change out of her gown yesterday. Her hospital gown. Less than a week with the Old Guys, and she’s already learning words that are Long Gone.

The lights flicker in the hospital room. She notices they’ve been flickering awhile, as if they’re tired. She supposes they are. All the machines should have been Long Gone a long time ago.

Jemma leaves the room into a blank hallway and turns right, then another right into a dead end. A metal door with a window, cut by diamond wire. She steps to the glass and sees boxes like Teevees. Some are dark, like she’s used to seeing, but others glow.

It’s not magic, she tells herself. But it feels like it. She jiggles the handle. It’s locked.

“Stay out of the computer room,” a voice behind her says. It’s Gil. He’s the nurse here, but doesn’t seem much interested in his only patient.

Puters, she mouths to herself, tucking it in with the other new names she’s learning.

“You’re not cleared for walking,” he says. “You’re supposed to have another day of medical observation.”

“Lucky for me,” she says, “I don’t know what none of that means.” And brushes by him and into the sun. She hasn’t memorized the outside yet; she’s spent so little time there. The Camp consists of four concrete bunkers around a courtyard, each half-buried into the ground in a giant, shallow bowl. To the north are mountains. To the west, hidden from her view, is the ocean.

In the middle of the courtyard are three of her favorite shapes in the world: Pico, the tiny former Exile who unlocked the secret of the End; Grease, a gawky mechanical genius with homemade glasses; Lady, short and curvy with cropped hair. Lady, her best friend. They left their home in the Holy Wood Hills, and fought through Biters and Last Lifers and the poison of the Dead Lands to find the place where the End never happened.

They’re safe here, safe as it’s possible to be. To the north are the Dead Lands, poisoned when the Lectric plant—the nuclear—broke. It’s impassable to all but the desperate, like they were, or to the Old Guys, who cannot die. She found bodies in the dust there, blistered and burned. To the south is San Diego, Long Gone and empty. Their enemies might still be out there, but they won’t find Jemma at the Camp.

The Camp is a former military base, and the home of the only scientists in the world. More important than that: the only people in the world older than seventeen.

“You’re walking,” Pico says.

“Had a concussion, not a broken leg,” Jemma says. “Show me all this stuff you guys been talkin bout.” While she was unconscious and then shut up in the bed, they explored the Camp and met most of the Old Guys. They keep on telling her stories that don’t make sense, like giant cows wandering through fields of Long Gone war machines. She has to see it herself.

Most of the activity in the Camp takes place inside the courtyard, based on the deep trails crisscrossing the grass. But the base seems to stretch on for miles and miles beyond their outpost high up the hill. Far below she sees an old runway for skyplanes, and to the south she sees a Children’s playground and crumbling office buildings. Immediately below the bunkers are three fenced-off large ponds, which must be the drinking supply.

“Up there,” Lady says, tapping Jemma’s shoulders. Jemma follows the direction of Lady’s arm pointing up the hill, where she sees a hundred fluffy brown shapes. A herd, grazing among old war machines pointing toward the sea.

“The cows,” Jemma says.

“Not quite,” Pico says. “Bison. The Old Guys call em buffalo.”

“They pets?” Jemma says. She likes their comically large, shaggy heads.

“No. There used to be millions of them in America, and they were almost wiped out by the Parents. Now there’s thousands just in the Camp.”

“More than the Parents,” Jemma says.

Her friends lead her around the barns and greenhouses, where the Old Guys seem to grow everything they need. Jemma sees gray heads among the tall plants. They duck down when the Children pass.

It wasn’t the machines of the Camp that startled her; after meeting Grease and Pico, she’s accustomed to machines and Lectrics though she still feels as if they’re the fingerprints of gods come to earth. It was James’s hair, gray but not buried in the ground; James rescued her in the Dead Lands.

There are no adults in this world. The Parents were scraped from the earth. All the greatness of the Parents, all their stupidity—all gone. A century has passed since the End, and the Old Guys should have passed with it. They’re the ones who began the End.

“How many Old Guys here?” Jemma says.

There are fifty Old Guys in the Camp, some scientists, some people who were subjects of the Long Life Project and others who worked on it in less crucial jobs.

“We ain’t seen em all,” Lady says. “But they say it’s fifty. Not all scientists but all of em know how to fight.”

“Armed, too,” Grease says. “It’s like they forgot the world isn’t making more weapons.”

“They don’t talk to kids much,” Pico says. “We scare em. Mebbe they gonna talk to you.”

They will. They’ll talk about the End and the Haze that causes it, running free in the world for a hundred years. They’ll talk to Jemma because she’s the only person who can control it. Maybe that’ll give them hope that it can be controlled, and the End can be stopped. That’s Jemma’s hope.

“We’re gonna get the whole story of the End,” Grease says.

“You din’t ask them already while I was laid up?” Jemma says.

“We tried,” Pico says.

“They said they wouldn’t explain until you were ready, too,” Grease says. The two of them look perturbed.

“Hell, I’m ready,” Jemma says. And they go to find James.

He is in a conference room surrounded by glass walls, covered almost completely by the ink of bright-colored markers. Other Old Guys are there, too: Gil, the nurse; Brian K, the engineer; some Muscle; and a woman with gleaming white hair to her shoulders, white–watery blue eyes that see everything. Jemma hasn’t noticed her before. She finds herself drawn to her.

“Jemma, I’d like you to meet the rest of the . . . Old Guys,” James says, bemused. “I guess that’s as good a name as any.” The Old Guys are a few colors: some with dark skin, some who look almost like the Angelenos, but most pink like James. James goes around the room and leaves the white-haired woman for last. When he does finally introduce her, he pronounces her name sourly, as if there’s years of distrust between them. “And this is . . . Alice. Our lead geneticist.”

“So you’re the girl who can speak to the Haze,” Alice says kindly. “Very impressive.” Jemma feels flattered. Chosen.

“Yeah,” Jemma says. “We ready to learn more.”

“You and your friends are from different tribes, aren’t you?” Alice says. “How do you refer to yourselves?”

“I . . .” She doesn’t know. She and Lady grew up in the Holy Wood, and Pico joined them as an Exile from the Malibus, another Angeleno tribe. When they left Ell Aye, they found the Kingdom, a tribe of Knights and cowboys, and took Grease with them. At each turn they picked up another, like a rock rolling through mud downhill. They’re not Holy Wood or Angeleno or Kingdom. They’re just friends.

“We the Mayflies,” Pico says.

Jemma and the others nod. “We the Mayflies,” Lady says.

“Fitting, but a bit dark,” Alice says.

“Nah. We know we just got this one life,” Pico says. “We gonna make the most of it.”

The one they call Brian K speaks up. “How does it feel? The Haze?”

That one is not answered easily. How does it feel to have a companion inside your own head? To know things she should never know? To see things before they happen? She doesn’t answer because she knows how it would sound: It makes you feel like you’re wearing Lectrics beneath your skin. It makes you confused and sure at the same time. It makes you feel like a god.

To him, she says, “Complete.”

The Old Guys continue to ask questions until finally Jemma has to shake them off. “Now our question,” she says. “How’d you End the world, and how can we stop it?”

About the Author

Jeff Sweat has made a living from words his entire career, starting out as an award-winning tech journalist for InformationWeek magazine and moving into marketing.

He led the content marketing team for Yahoo and pioneered its use of social media. He directed PR for two of the top advertising agencies in the country, Deutsch LA and 72andSunny. He now runs his own Los Angeles–based PR and marketing agency, Mister Sweat.

He grew up in Idaho as the middle of eight children—seven boys and one girl—and attended Columbia University in New York. Jeff lives in a big blue house in Los Angeles with his wife Sunny and their three kids, two cats, and a racing greyhound.

He loves to travel and writes everywhere he goes, even when there's not a desk. He likes karaoke, motorcycles and carpentry. He was once shot in the head with a nail gun, which was not a big of a deal as it sounds. But it still hurt like crazy.

2 winners will win a finished copy of SCORPION, US Only.


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