The Great Destroyers (Hardcover)

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The Great Destroyers By Caroline Tung Richmond Cover Image

The Great Destroyers (Hardcover)


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(YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy)

Blood, sweat, and death.

Welcome to the Pax Games.

Jo Linden was born into a world where wars are won with giant mechanical soldiers and the nuclear bomb was never invented. Yet the Cold War still rages, and international rivalries between democracy and communism are now fought at the Pax Games, an Olympic-style competition that pits young pilots of mechas against each other. The USSR has beaten the US in nearly every game since its inception, and in the 1963 Games, the US is desperate for a win. Because it's more than just the Games at stake. Premier Khrushchev will be attending, and after, he and President Kennedy are slated to sign a peace accord stabilizing the war in Vietnam-and their volatile relationship.

Raised in her father's mecha repair shop, Jo knows more than anyone about piloting. She's also the most unlikely pick for Team USA since she's a virtually unknown fighter. So when she's invited at the last minute to compete, she jumps at it. This could be the only chance to save her family's home from debt collectors. All eyes are on Jo from the moment she arrives. But as fighters start dying in the arena, it's suddenly clear that it's more than the usual Pax Games, and Jo finds herself drawn into a deadly political plot. And if she can't figure out the truth, it might mean the annihilation of everything.

In a global arms race between superpowers, playing out in violent games that only humanity could create, comes a chilling story of clashing titans, ruthless competition, freedom, and the girl caught in the middle of it all.

Caroline Tung Richmond is the author of the alternative history novels The Only Thing to Fear and Live in Infamy, as well as the historical fiction novel The Darkest Hour. She’s also the program director of We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit that seeks to create a world where all children can find themselves on the pages of a book.

A self-proclaimed history nerd and cookie connoisseur, Caroline lives in Maryland with her family and her dog, Otto von Bismarck—named for the German chancellor (naturally). You can find out more about at her at

Product Details ISBN: 9781338266740
ISBN-10: 1338266748
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Pages: 400
Language: English

Praise for The Great Destroyers

* "Engaging and thrilling." --School Library Journal, starred review

"A suspenseful page-turner." --Kirkus Reviews

"The Great Destroyers balances suspenseful action sequences with explorations of identity and prejudice.... Jo's distinct voice and search for acceptance make this novel stand out." --Shelf Awareness

Praise for The Only Thing to Fear

"Richmond makes an impressive debut with this alternate history . . . She twists history and throws in creative exploitation of superpowers to deliver a fast-paced adventure." -- Publishers Weekly

"Reminiscent of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but the alternative-history angle adds a spark of its own." -- Booklist

"An outstanding debut that will thrill readers of all ages." --

"The Only Thing to Fear can be summed up in two words: realistically frightening. . . . This heart-stopping novel goes to the extremes of what could have been and what may have been done." --

"The plot is fast-paced and will appeal to both historical fiction and science fiction readers." -- Library Media Connection

Praise for Live in Infamy

* "Social issues have as much weight here as the historical elements. The simplicity of the story works in the book's favor; potentially challenging material is accessible to middle grade readers, but there is enough action to hook older ones . . . This is a good introduction to historical reimagining for middle grades; all readers will be engaged with the handling of social issues as well as revelations about the secret pockets of resistors, their plots, and their battles with authorities." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Despite the alternate history premise, news-conscious young readers may recognize themes eerily similar to the current political climate." -- School Library Connection

"In this stand-alone companion to The Only Thing to Fear , Richmond skillfully embellishes a dystopian fantasy world shaped by actual events in history . . . The historically enticing premise is brilliantly crafted." -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Darkest Hour

"Rife with action and intrigue, this work explores a little-known history of women in World War II. The novel passes the Bechdel test with flying colors . . ." -- School Library Journal

"Thrills, action, and the moral certainty of fighting Nazis drive this thriller." -- Kirkus Reviews