the Little Red Reviewer

Guest Review of SPLICED, by Jon McGoran

Posted on: September 29, 2017

It was just last week that I interviewed Jon McGoran, author of the new YA novel Spliced.  What lovely timing to be hosting a guest review of Spliced today!  My very good friend Kristin Centorcelli, enjoyed the hell out of Spliced. And I’ll bet her name sounds familiar to a lot of you . . .

** Edited to add – Jon McGoran is also over at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog today, talking about the Big Idea behind Sliced.  The interview, this review, the Big Idea at Whatever? Trifecta of Sliced goodness! **

Kristin Centorcelli ran My Bookish Ways, wrote and edited for SF Signal, and now reviews for Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and Criminal Element. She also hoards books and expects that, at some point, the hoard will collapse, and her body will be found under mountains of them. She’s ok with this.


Spliced, by Jon McGoran

available on Sept 29th, 2017

Guest reviewed by Kristin Centorcelli












Full disclosure: I haven’t read a book by Jon McGoran that I didn’t like, and when I heard he was delving into YA territory, I was intrigued, and excited! My excitement was warranted, because he brings all of the environmentally conscious elements of his writing to the table, throws in some very cool science, and gives us a hell of a heroine in the process. Spliced takes place in and around Philadelphia, in what I’m guessing is the fairly near future: there are mail drones (and police drones) buzzing around, people live clustered together in cities, with the outer neighborhoods, dubbed “zurbs,” having crumbled under environmental onslaught. Think buckled sidewalks, swimming pools as hazards, and lots of greenery, except where coal wells have poisoned the land with their output. People do live in the zurbs, and some even thrive, growing their own food and using solar power, but for the most part, it’s considered a wild place, dangerous even.



What you want to know about is splicing and chimeras, right? Splicing involves injecting non-human DNA into humans, creating strange/scary/beautiful results, aka chimeras. Our 16-year-old heroine, Jimi, wants nothing to do with splicing, but her best friend (and maybe more?) Del, shows her a new tat he got of an iguana, which comes as a surprise to Jimi, but she puts it aside as harmless rebellion, until Del goes missing after a confrontation with the police, who are generally not very tolerant of chimeras, and Del was hanging out with a group of them at the time. Jimi’s interference gets her in some trouble, and it also gets her sent to stay with her Aunt Trudy out in the zurbs. It sucks, but all Jimi can think about is finding Del. She’s worried that he’s gotten spliced, and her worries aren’t unfounded. In fact, the worst has happened, and Jimi must find a way to help Del before it’s too late.


In seeking to help Del, Jimi gets a helping hand by a chimera named Rex, and is introduced to his diverse group of friends. They’ve been squatting in the zurbs, and lead a hand to mouth existence. They already suffer from somewhat of an outsider status, but it’s made worse when legislation called the Genetic Heritage Act is signed into law, effectively declaring chimeras non-humans. It’s a disgusting piece of work, and it’s igniting violence all over the city, targeting the very people that Jimi has begun to call her friends.


It wasn’t insta-friendship, though. Jimi must work through her own pre-conceived biases of chimeras. To be sure, Jimi has no interest in getting spliced herself, but she’s starting to at least begin to understand why someone might want to do it. Many of these kids, including Del, didn’t have the best lives to begin with, and although Jimi’s father died years ago from a super flu, her life has been fairly normal. Jimi’s evolution of sorts in her own personal views adds a lot of depth to an already thoughtful narrative. But don’t worry, McGoran doesn’t skimp on excitement. Jimi, Rex, and the rest of the gang are put through the ringer, especially as anti-chimera sentiment really starts to gain steam-thanks to the efforts of a group called H4H (Humans for Humanity,) and there are even sparks between Rex and Jimi. When their search takes them to a compound called Haven, a refuge for chimeras run by a millionaire called Jasper, things really start to get interesting. Also, keep an eye out for a sequence in an eerily perfect town that seems ideal, but is really something out of the Twilight Zone.


Kindness, acceptance, and above all, humanity-and the things that make us human- are the big themes here, although, of course, the consequences of human carelessness regarding the environment are also explored. Buckle up, because the third act is a heckuva ride, and there’s a killer twist, too. I can’t wait for the next book!

2 Responses to "Guest Review of SPLICED, by Jon McGoran"

I miss you, Kristin! (That sounds weird because I don’t even know you) But seriously, I do miss your blog. It’s great to read a review from you again. I’ve been intrigued by this book, so I’ll have to get a copy one of these days😁

Liked by 1 person

*cough cough* I wish Kristin would write guest reviews for me more often *cough cough*

Liked by 1 person

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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