Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places, but when I was a ‘tween, I felt like I was in a literary limbo. Too old for the Babysitter Series anymore, too young for sexy and violent tales like ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ and without ‘Harry Potter’ ushering in the grand genre that would become Young Adult, there wasn’t much to turn to. I’d pull random paperbacks from the Fiction section off the shelf (yes, we had physical bookstores back then, kids!), fancying myself quite the adult indeed, and when they ended up being mostly disappointing (read: boring), well, it was hard to understand weirdos who read for pleasure.

What I’m saying is I wish a book like ‘Prodigy’ had been around when I was young.

‘Prodigy’ by Marie Lu is the second book in the ‘Legend’ trilogy, which I touched on lightly in an earlier article. ‘Legend’ tells the tale of a dystopian futuristic society from the perspective of a highly adept soldier for the Republic Army named June, and the young man who killed her brother, Day, who’s also the most notorious criminal on the streets. When June goes undercover, pretending to befriend him to lead him into a trap, she learns a bit more about life on the streets and the government she’s fighting for.

‘Prodigy’ picks up 7 days after ‘Legend’ ends, and the two are battered, bruised, and still a bit unsure if they can trust the other. On the run, however, they have no choice but to team up with the resistance, a fact that June can never quite get used to. When an unexpected shift in government coincides with the resistance’s most deadly plan to date, June and Day fight to remain grounded and focus on the real enemy.

No sophomore slump here. I daresay this sequel is better than the original, and it can only get better in its anticipated conclusion, ‘Champion,’ hitting shelves this November. With alternating chapters told from each of their perspectives, the will-they-won’t-they is just excruciating — in the absolute best sense of the word. The marker of a truly immersive book is spending the duration wanting to shake or slap your favorite characters with every near miss of happiness.

I can’t wait to read the final installment of the trilogy, and I hear whispers of a movie are in the works, so I recommend getting on this train while the getting is good. I’ve also been told the author lives in the same state as I do, so I have a strongly worded letter ready if it does not end up like I hope it will.