Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue—created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay—and die—with the boy he loves.
About the Author
Maria Ingrande Mora is the Content Director at award-winning digital marketing agency Big Sea. In her previous editorial role at SheKnows, she managed a team of writers and covered feminism, parenting, and health. Maria lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her two children, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. As a queer woman, she is passionate about representation in kidlit. She can often be found writing at her stand-up desk, surrounded by house plants.