Scythe by Neal Shusterman
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Citra and Rowan are confident and determined young adults who stand up for what they believe. Because of this, they are both chosen to be an apprentice to a scythe. Neither of them wants to kill, but it will keep their families safe from “gleaning” (death).
Scythe is the first in a fantastic, dystopian series for teens. The subject matter may be hard and a bit dark for some. But this has to be some of the best worldbuilding and character development I’ve ever read. To keep the Earth’s population under control, scythes kill without prejudice. And despite having their own governing body, the scythes each have their own philosophy and way of gleaning. Some are much more brutal than others. Citra and Rowan have to make some hard choices and are forced into some heart-wrenching situations. With plenty of plot twists along the way, this story is engaging, thought-provoking, and intense until the very end. I can’t wait to jump into the next installment.