ISBN 9780062092991 (ISBN-13: 978-0062092991)
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More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible–a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War III. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted–friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters–but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.


  • Short-listed for the Waterstone’s Book Prize
  • Winner of the 2015 Young Adult Alabama Author Award from the Alabama Library Association
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Selection for the 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List
  • Selection for the Texas Lone Star Reading List
  • Selection for the 2016-2017 Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Grades 6-8
  • The Summer 2012 Indie Next List- #6
  • Nominated for the 2014-2015 Soaring Eagle Book Award by the Wyoming Library Association and Wyoming State Reading Council
  • Nominated for the 2015 Sequoyah Book Award- Intermediate Masterlist by the Oklahoma Library Association
  • Nominated for the Truman Reader Award by the Missouri Association of School Librarians
  • Nominated for the Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award by the Connecticut Association of School Librarians/Connecticut Library Association
  • Nominated for 2015 Rhode Island Teen Book Award by the Rhode Island Library Association/Rhode Island Education Media Association
  • Selection for the 2014-15 Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award List


“Insignia expertly combines humor with a disarming and highly realistic view of the future. The characters are real, funny, and memorable. You won’t be able to put this book down.”
—Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DIVERGENT and INSURGENT

“Hip, high-tech, and hilarious, INSIGNIA made my heart soar and left me with impossible-to-shake questions about technology, reality, and war.”
—Rae Carson, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

“It’s cyberpunk at its best, twisting the world we know and the ways we communicate in exciting and terrifying new directions. I loved every page, and I can’t wait for the sequel.”
— Dan Wells, New York Times bestselling author of PARTIALS and I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER

“An unlikely teen is selected to attend Hogwarts-at-the-Pentagon. With action, real humor and a likable, complex protagonist, this fast-moving, satisfying adventure also provides some food for thought.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Kincaid’s debut novel, an ambitious, high-concept mélange of the teen hacker and teen spy genres provides a fast-paced and exciting tale.”
—Publishers Weekly