Today I was talking to a friend, and I remembered this book that I gave to her once. I also remembered that I wrote a review of that book, and that that review no longer exists. So here’s another one!
Author: Emma Pass
Published: Corgi Children’s Books, 2013
My Rating: ★★
The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.
When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?
I read this book at the height of my dystopian obsession, just after reading The Hunger Games—at the recommendation of the same friend I gave ACID to, by the by.
ACID is a dystopian book that stood out to me due to one distinction: it’s set in Britain, which wasn’t—and still isn’t—all that common in dystopian young adult books. I mean, going by … so much fucking fiction, actually—ahem. Judging by that, the world pretty much is America. But this book gives us Britain! (Which has, I believe, been called America 2.0. How sad for us.)
This book has a whole bunch of interesting elements. ACID, the police force which rules the nation, feel like the threat. They’ve even gone so far as to censor the books and other creative stuff that people, you know … create. (I’m not quite together for this one, am I?) They control every single aspect of people’s lives, even who they marry. Or, as ACID call it, who ends up being their LifePartner. And I like that as a name because it looks like a brand. Adds a bit of flavour.
I do like the tension that this book builds. When they’re on the run it feels like they’re on the run, always like they’re at risk and just one step ahead of ACID. It does feel like they’re in a world where ACID controls everything, and that Jenna, our lovely protagonist, is constantly in danger. The relationship between Jenna and her … shall we call him her running away mate? Well, it builds and is interesting and feels real.
Plus, this book isn’t afraid to have teenagers talk like teenagers. I’m sick of all these books written for people who definitely swear in which nobody even swears, even when they almost definitely would.
However, this book is … dystopian. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re a huge fan of dystopia, but it does hit all the beats of a young adult dystopian novel. There is stuff that’s surprising and also plenty that isn’t. I would say that I was probably more engrossed in the beginning of the book, before the “HEY THIS IS YOUNG ADULT DYSTOPIA” stuff started beating me over the head. Plus, it’s cool that Jenna held her own in a prison with all male prisoners except for hers, but … why?
On that subject, I will say that this book does have a few logical inconsistencies. Probably, in retrospect, it’s that more than the “hey I’m a dystopian novel” vibe that it gave off that made me give this book “It was okay.” Because, really, the logical problems never pulled me out of the moment until afterwards, and it does its job as a dystopian novel. If you’re a fan of dystopia, a big fan, the things that bothered me probably aren’t even going to bother you.
Anyway. That’s my piece. I’m off to read the book for the next Sunday Review. If you’re in need of a dystopian read, why not check out this book’s Amazon page?
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