Shephard Summers




The Culling

by Steven Dos Santos

YA Dystopian
(Flux Publishing)
(Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown)

What I loved most: well-developed characters and page-turning fun read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed, emotion and character-driven read.  It is The Gay Hunger Games in the same way that The Muppet Movie is the Puppet Wizard of Oz. Seriously, think about it. The Muppet Movie is basically The Wizard of Oz. Did we care? No, because it gave us something fresh and characters we love.  In the same way, I loved THE CULLING.
The major similarities end after YA main character with younger sibling forced into game with someone he has feelings for. This book is a roller coaster ride!  Steven Dos Santos goes the extra mile, constantly amping up the stakes, making them higher and higher, until the reader knows there has to be a great price to pay, but has no idea how. There was way more time spent pre-games developing relationships, blurring the lines between good/bad and friend/enemy, making me care very deeply about the characters when they were finally in peril.  The stakes and price Lucky pays are so high, I am baffled as to how the next book in the series can top it. But plotting dynamics seem effortless to Steven Dos Santos, so I’m betting it will deliver.  Can’t wait to read the sequel.

Footnote: the romantic relationship between Lucky and Digory was part of the plot, tasteful, emotional, heart-felt and believable. This is not an erotic novel.  Novel is more than a little gory in places.


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