“The Exclusion Wars” by Sheila Agnew
Published by Oxiana Road Publishing on December 21, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Political
Length: 204 pages
Description: A thriller set in 2025, in which teenager, Mateo Rivera, is in hiding as “Matt” in New York City where he must avoid capture by Mr. Rienham, the new chief of the Deportation of Latinos Agency, hand-picked for the job by President Trent himself.
But Matt isn’t alone; he’s got the Underground, an organization which advocates peaceful resistance. He’s been trained by the mysterious Underground leader, Polaris; harbored by reluctant shepherd and drop-out lawyer, Steve; and he has the not always helpful but well-intentioned support of his best friend, fifteen year-old, wannabe Navy Seal, Danni Singh.
Rienham, the DLA and its roving pack of DepoDogs aren’t Matt’s only problems. There’s a new enemy on the horizon, and it calls itself The Latino Alliance.
“The Exclusion Wars” by Sheila Agnew is a dystopian novel depicting how our world changes when a fictional President Trent takes control of the government and uses fear to alter what freedom means for the U.S. The book follows a teenage Latino boy, Mateo Rivera (aka Matt Rivers), on his quest to find his mother, while working for the “Underground” and staying off of the government’s radar.
We are quickly thrown into this new world where the “Underground,” which works similarly to the Underground Railroad that provided passage for slaves to their freedom, hiding Latinos from the government since the “Exclusion Order” that stripped all Latinos of their rights and citizenship. The government in the story conducts raids on a consistent basis to actively pursue undocumented persons, with special attention to minors.
Particularly in our current political state, Agnew really struck a chord with this story that all Americans should consider. This book is eerily prophetic and while we can all brush it off as something that would never happen, the reality is that this is exactly the kind of world we could live in if someone like Donald Trump was elected and given power. Not to mention how his exclusionary attitude toward immigrants has consistently governed his campaign.
Agnew does a great job of using our own American history as a baseboard to demonstrate how realistic this dystopian universe could be. Weaving in the fundamental views that created the country throughout the book, the story is an intriguing wake up call for those in denial about what could and couldn’t happen, and how much power those in politics really hold. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and found it incredibly timely and oddly prophetic.