Wasteland - Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan *Genre* YA Dystopian*Rating* 3.0*First thoughts*I went into this book with my eyes opened along with a pen and paper to take copious notes. I left all preconceived notions behind and allowed the author to sway me into either liking this book, or not. This is all my opinion, and subjective to my likes and dislikes and nobody else's. You may find that this is the greatest book since the creation of the Bible or sliced bread. I will politely disagree and move on.According to the synopsis, this is the first book in a so called trilogy. However, the way it ends allows for this to be a standalone since most if not all of the plot lines are wrapped up prior to the ending.What we do know. This is a post-apocalyptic world filled with teenagers who are required to either be part of the Harvesting, Gleaning, or Excavation of PRIN and surrounding areas. There are no adults to oversee their actions since 99 percent of those who reach 19 don't live to see their 20th birthdays. They are guided by a so called leader who is supposed to be elected to a 1 year term. He, however, is guided by the mysterious Levi who the townsfolk trade goods with in return for food and water. There are no options that allows for anyone to skirt the work requirement. Those who try, are Shunned and sent off where they will more than likely die in the blazing hot sun.One of the main characters of the story is Esther. Esther is a 15 year old who enjoys playing games with her Variant friend Skar while scoffing at the work requirement. She lives with her sister Sarah who has turned down all forms of partnering. Partnering isn't a requirement in Prin. Just sort of a suggested way for two people to fall in love and protect each other. Esther has also turned down what little requests she's received. Like I said, she's almost a free spirit when it comes to doing anything particularly useful. She's not the expected heroine that I expect from these sort of books. The other main character is Caleb who has come to Prin in search of his baby boy. He's probably the most likable character in this book because he has a mission and his anger towards the Variants is totally based on perceived circumstances, rather than actual. Caleb has learned how to fight and defeat the Variants, but in the end, he realizes that he may need their help in order to find his baby.The things I liked and didn't like:1. I absolutely did not like the world building in Wasteland. There's absolutely no explanation as to why the characters in this book are living in a virtual oven with yellow skies and rain water that can kill or cause plague like symptoms. This is a huge glaring weakness for this book in my opinion. If, in fact, I decide to read the next book in this trilogy, I want the authors to actually tell me what happened to the world.2. I absolutely did not see any so called racism in this book. Yes, there are a group of individuals called hermaphroditics better known as Variants who are excluded from living among the norms. Each Hermie chooses a path they want to live, either male or female. One of the characters, Skar, is best friends with Esther and teaches her how to hunt, gather, and have fun. There has been speculation that the Variants are like American Indians who live off the land and trade goods and services with the bad guy but aren't allowed to be any where near the norms. Speculate away.3. We don't have any clue why everyone seems to die at the age of Nineteen except for one character who just happens to live in a hotel above a major story plot. The author does not explain how this particular character was able to live longer than anyone else in recent history. Like I said previously, I need more explanation as to what happened, and why people die so young.In the overall scheme of things, this isn't the most interesting Dystopian novel that I've read over the past 2 years. It's not the worse either. It just seems that somewhere in the translation of putting the book together, lots of information was either edited out or left out completely by the writers. I am hoping that they realize the errors of their way and make amends. Recvd via Edelweiss 01/25/2013 - Expected publication: March 26th 2013 by HarperTeen