Dystopian is the new vampires in YA. While I don’t claim to have read every dystopian YA novel or series since “Hunger Games,” I have read a few. For me, this one stands out a little from the pack as an engrossing story with a sympathetic yet spunky heroine.
THE PLOT: Like many other future worlds, this one has a caste system where people are grouped by numbers from I to VII. Seventeen-year-olds take a test that designates what their number will be. VIIs are the “elected” royalty, while Is are sent “Elsewhere,” along with other drains on society, like anyone over the age of 60 (except VIIs). No one really knows what Elsewhere is, but when readers find out…it’s actually even worse than you think. Anyway, poor Kitty Doe has dyslexia and doesn’t test well, which results in her earning a lowly III. She knows this means she has pretty much wrecked her life and that of her boyfriend, Benjy, who is sure to score a fantastic VI when he takes the test. Kitty chooses a life of prostitution instead, but before she can really act on this plan, her life changes forever. [This is one plot point I have a serious problem with: In this future world, they can “mask” someone to look exactly like someone else, even change their height and bodily bone structure with minimal recovery time…but they cannot change someone’s EYE COLOR? Not with lasers? Not with contacts? Really?]
Kitty is pulled from the brothel based on her unusual eye color to be surgically altered into Lila Hart, a deceased member of the ruling Hart family; become a VII; marry Lila’s fiancé, Knox; and enjoy all the perks that come with it…but of course, there’s a price. Or several prices. To make sure she cooperates, her new “uncle” Daxton Hart has one of her friends killed, and then shows her the true meaning of Elsewhere using someone Kitty loves as a victim. But even the ruling family has issues. Lila Hart is dead for a reason. She was a not-so-secret rebel leader, and other members of the family were working with her…and want Kitty to step into Lila’s shoes as a rebel as well.
MY TWO CENTS: There are several twists, turns, and surprises in this book, which keeps it moving at a quick pace. The reader definitely feels for Kitty and wants her to navigate this horrible mess successfully. I do wish it wasn’t set up to become a love triangle, but that seems to be almost a requirement for YA.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite some flaws, I was intrigued enough by this book to look forward to its sequel, “The Captive.” Bring on the rebellion! I also like this better than the author’s “Goddess Test” series.
TEACUP RATING: I give it 4 to 4½ out of 5 teacups full of rebellious black tea.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.