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Of Better Blood

Of Better Blood Book Cover Of Better Blood
Susan Moger
Juvenile Fiction
AW Teen
February 1, 2016

Teenage polio survivor Rowan Collier is caught in the crossfire of a secret war against "the unfit." It's 1922, and eugenics--the movement dedicated to racial purity and good breeding--has taken hold in America. State laws allow institutions to sterilize minorities, the "feeble-minded," and the poor, while local eugenics councils set up exhibits at county fairs with "fitter family" contests and propaganda. After years of being confined to hospitals, Rowan is recruited at sixteen to play a born cripple in a county fair eugenics exhibit. But gutsy, outspoken Dorchy befriends Rowan and helps her realize her own inner strength and bravery. The two escape the fair and end up at a summer camp on a desolate island run by the New England Eugenics Council. There they discover something is happening to the children. Rowan must find a way to stop the horrors on the island...if she can escape them herself.



There are not enough stars available on any rating site for me to properly convey how much I loved “Of Better Blood.”  It is hands-down one of the best young adult historical novels I have ever read.

The very subject of eugenics is seldom so thoroughly explored in fiction, and it is quite an eye-opener to discover that the dystopias we fear have always existed in some way.  Winners write the history books, so not many students are taught that the United States was treating many of its citizens in the exact same way as Hitler.  The only difference?  We did it earlier.  Much earlier.  Hopefully readers will take heed that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.  Our world is not too far-removed from circling back around to the same type of situation with different people.

There are some major points about the characters that I loved.  The first is the fact that the main characters are two girls without any superpowers or extraordinary abilities who manage to kick some serious ass.  In fact, Rowan is a polio survivor with limited use of her legs.  She isn’t someone who wants, or needs, pity.  The book also keeps it all real.  They couldn’t change the entire world on their own.  Their job was to make some steps forward and lead others to do the same.  It’s something we could all do a little bit more of.

I recommend “Of Better Blood” to absolutely anyone in 7th grade and up.  There is no questionable content in terms of sex, and the profanity is mild.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Mild Language, Child Abuse, Discrimination