A brilliantly written dystopian novel that will remain in the mind of its readers for a long time.
When your parents are deemed enemies of the state, you’re sent to a secret detention school. For Reed Paine meeting new people and making friends isn’t something he truly considered until he becomes friends with a girl named Riley and slowly began opening up to other detainees. Together, they discover information and a long forgotten history in hidden tunnels underneath the school. As they begin to question the system and what they thought they knew about their society, the government reveals its intention to sell the school. Reed and his friends will have to make the decision of standing by and do nothing or to do something that might bring them freedom, change the world but also get them killed. Can they make it without losing their lives in the process?
The plot is very well-developed and its depth makes it almost tangible, which both admirable and scary considering the dystopian story-line isn’t that far-fetched; it’s original and refreshing. It’s the type of book that can be read in one sitting.
The concepts in which the novel develops around remind the reader of the importance of history, country values, patriotism but also the importance of accepting the hard moments in life and that making mistakes is that makes us human. Furthermore, it serves as a reminder that nothing in life should be taken for granted, and that includes liberty. The style of writing approaches these themes in a subtle way, seducing the reader in going deeper into the story and into the lives of each character. Froelich’s style is impressive and it makes the story memorable.
The novel is fast-paced and packed with action and it keeps that rhythm throughout the story. The characters are very well-developed and it was easy to become a part of their adventure. Their depth is incredible and it’s almost like they’re real people that decided to tell their story. One of the things that I appreciated a lot in this novel is the fact that, yes, there are couples, but romance isn’t highlighted, friendship is. I can’t begin to describe how much I enjoyed reading the character’s interactions, their behaviour with each other and how often physical gestures are used to offer comfort and show that they care. I think the readers can truly relate to these characters and appreciate this view of friendship. The ending was like a door closing but a window opening at the same time: it’s a conclusion but there is enough space for a sequel.
This book got me hooked from page one and I recommend it to anyone interested in a fast-paced YA dystopia with historical references and lessons.
I want to thank the author Jennifer Froelich for sending me a free digital copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.