Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown. But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ – a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals – she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane.
Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Luis, a boy who will become her love…and her lifeline. Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed… But who can she trust? And can she ever escape?
Just like with Imposter (Winnacker) this book seemed like it would be right up my street. It is a dystopian novel that, from the synopsis, sounds completely and totally awesome. I did have some issues with the fact that the girl on the cover is basically Katniss Everdeen but I was willing to look past it for the sake of a good book. I left this one for quite a while. It was sent to me by Orchard Books (a division of Hachette Children’s Books) close to a year and a half ago now, which is really terrible, but there just didn’t seem to be a right time for this book. But the right time arrived this month in the form of a January TBR Jar Pick!
I dove into this book early one evening and, to its credit, it was a page turner. It moved very very quickly from point to point and you don’t really have much chance to come up for breath during the first one hundred pages. (Good start Stasse, good start indeed.) It was when the main character, Alenna, settled a little more on the island that problems began to rear their ugly heads.
The love story was iffy to say the very least. One minute she is not going to fall in love with the hot boy Liam but within the next ten pages she has “fallen for him” (her words, not mine) without spending much time with him it all. It seemed very superficial and thrown in there for no good reason. This then brings me onto her relationship with Gadya (a girl on the island) which switches from positive to negative and back again so fast that, to be honest, I got a bit lost in it and wanted to slap the two of them to remind them that they are meant to be fighting for their lives!
There was also a lot of explaining happening. I don’t know if it is laziness or whether there simply was no other way to get this information across but the amount of info-dumping in this book is uncalled for. The long paragraphs being explained either by characters in dialogue or through Alenna’s narration in particular became really annoying really quickly.
The positive point of the book is that it is definitely a page turner. The action sequences are fresh and interesting and definitely not as Hunger Games-esque as I expected them to be and the ending was very satisfying. I want to know more about what The Feelers are, the government’s motives and I am really intrigued by the character of David. If I read the sequel (The Uprising) it will be for these reasons, not the “relationship” between Alenna and Liam. (Insta-love cringe) Also, there is a twist that comes about two thirds of the way through which, if you are wise to remember the world of the book, is somewhat earth shattering in terms of this little world Stasse has created. So clever and definitely kept me going to the end.
On the whole, it had its strong moments but a lot of weak moments. It was a great idea that was poorly executed. So much potential.