The Cost of Living Forever by Kat Kirst

By Ekta R. Garg

December 4, 2013

Rated: Bookmark it!

When a company develops a drug to help people live longer—theoretically for the rest of time—a government steps in to make sure everyone gets their share of the resources needed to keep society going.  The successor to the company, however, realizes that something just doesn’t add up and, with the help of a friend, decides to find out the truth.  Kat Kirst’s latest young adult novel, The Cost of Living Forever, lays out her premise in compelling prose.

Nick Stanton’s grandmother dotes on him, and his grandfather, Terrence Stanton, stays busy running their empire that manufactured the drug to keep people alive forever.  Terrence displays a deep affection for Nick and manages to make time for him, wanting to begin grooming him to take over the company eventually.  While Nick feels somewhat constrained by his privileged life, he also enjoys the benefits.

Adree is the Porcine Mistress of her barn.  She tends to and monitors the pigs used as host animals for the organs needed for the Old Timers, the members of the elderly population that started taking the longevity pill after they passed the prime of their lives.  Adree may not always like her job, but she does take pride in doing it the best she can.  When a key pig dies, however, Adree must suffer consequences disproportionate to the event, and suddenly Nick begins to realize that his grandfather’s empire stands on more than just successful research.

Author Kat Kirst’s latest novel will keep readers turning pages to find out what happens to Adree, Nick, and the cast of supporting characters.  Kirst’s familiarity and comfort with the genre shine.  She builds a thought-provoking concept in the idea of a pharmaceutical company successfully developing a drug that will keep people alive continually, and she also answers most of the questions surrounding the development of such a drug.

While Kirst could have spent slightly more time developing and exploring Adree’s emotions in the forefront of the story, she easily makes up for this by the relationship she develops between Adree and Nick.  The two seem an unlikely pair in the beginning, but by the middle of the book they have bonded and will have readers cheering for both of them.  Kirst also doesn’t shy away from portraying Nick as a real-life heir to the throne.  At key moments in the story Nick’s naiveté comes through as a reminder of his lack of contact with the events of the world around him, but Kirst carefully plants these moments so they don’t feel forced or overdone.  The effect is a wonderfully balanced story that shows growth in Nick’s character.

I would highly recommend The Cost of Living Forever for anyone who enjoys a good young adult novel that will also challenge adult readers.

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