Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Young Adult Fiction Dystopian


A Novel

by (author) Jen Braaksma

Initial publish date
May 2024
Dystopian, Values & Virtues, Parents, Thrillers & Suspense, Politics & Government
Recommended Age
13 to 17
Recommended Grade
8 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A devastating virus. A nation-wide quarantine. A ruthless government at war with the world. And it’s all seventeen-year-old Lyra Harmon’s fault.

Lyra is the only person known to have “phoenix cells,” which regenerate no matter the injury or illness. If she had just let the doctors clone her cells when Hecate’s Plague was first discovered, she could have stopped the pandemic—and the war. But her parents knew the government would also use her cells to clone an undefeatable army and wanted to protect Lyra from being a pawn in anyone’s game. So they kept her hidden and have now been on the run for years. It’s a lonely, isolating existence and Lyra hates it.

When she secretly befriends a young girl orphaned by the plague, Lyra takes a stand. She won’t run again. But her impulsive decision has devastating consequences: her parents contract the deadly virus, leaving them only three days to live—unless Lyra can save them. But as she’s sucked into a dangerous political game, she no longer knows the right thing to do. With time running out, she must finally decide what—or who—she’s willing to sacrifice in order to find a cure.

About the author

Jen Braaksma is a writer and book coach. She started her career as a journalist, then veered into the classroom as a high school English teacher for almost two decades. Now she helps other writers develop and share their stories. She lives with her husband and two teen daughters. And cats. Four of them. Evangeline's Heaven is her first published novel, though it’s not the first one she’s written. That one still lives in her drawer. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Jen Braaksma's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Amaranth is a must-read for anyone who, like its protagonist Lyra, wrestles with wanting a place to belong in a world that too often feels devoid of compassion.”
—Alison Levy, author of Magic by Any Other Name

“A powerful story of survival, sacrifice, love and loss, this action-packed dystopian read is perfect for fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games.”
—Katie Keridan, author of The Felserpent Chronicles

"A beautifully told story about sacrifice, resilience, and love. Lyra is fierce and determined, and her journey is an edge-of-your-seat, page-turning ride. Don’t miss out on this thrilling YA dystopian adventure. You'll be blown away!"
—Lenore Borja, author of The Last Huntress

“A remarkably presentient story, filled with surprising twists and turns that keep you reading, Amaranth delivers a powerful message about what it means to live with purpose.”
—Jude Berman, author of The Die

"A gripping story of a young woman on the run who, through a string of agonizing choices, discovers what it means to be true to yourself when what you most want is impossible."
—Meredith Walters, author of This Animal Body

Other titles by