Author: Teri Terry
Age Group: Middle Schoolers and above
My Rating: 2.5/4 Stars
Synopsis: “Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She’s been slated. The government claims that she was a terrorist and they are giving her a second chance—if she plays by their rules. But scenes from the past haunt her as she tries to adjust to a new life, family, and school, leaving her unsettled. Who is she really? And if only criminals are meant to be slated, why are so many other teens disappearing? As she and her friend Ben seek answers, Kyla is torn between the need to know more and her instinct for self-preservation.” (Amazon.com)
I picked up this book mainly because the plot sounded original and interesting, and it didn’t disappoint. This book was very unexpected because from my experience a lot of dystopian books are very pumped up and full of action. But this book had a chill plot line, which didn’t advance at a very fast pace. I don’t think it was at all a bad thing though, because it seemed to make the story very realistic despite it being a very different world from ours today.
The protagonist, Kyla, goes through some unique struggles which make her character easy to like and enjoy reading about. There are a lot of ways where this book could’ve gone very wrong, since Kyla doesn’t really know who she was. I think the author did a commendable job creating a main character who had enough of a personality in her situation to make the book an engaging read (when I say ‘her situation’ I am referring to Kyla’s absence of memories).
The one thing that I found myself questioning throughout my reading experience was the supporting characters. I loved Kyla, but most of the other characters (except Mum, she was totally bomb and had an engrossing backstory that explained her personality well) felt very shallow and uninteresting. Kyla’s personality is different from other Slateds. Other victims of slating are very dull and their emotions are regulated constantly. This was an interesting aspect of the story and I understand that’s the way these characters are (it’s not like they can help it, since they wear bands around their wrists that shock them if they are too sad or angry). However, it did get in the way of me connecting with any of them (examples are Ben and Amy).
One more thing I’d like to talk about is the appearance of subtle romance between Ben and Kyla. Of course, this is a YA novel. I pretty much guessed after reading the synopsis that they would be a thing. Sadly, what with Ben not being a particularly favorite character of mine, I found that the romantic side of things in this novel felt rather forced, as though it were added as an afterthought. For me, it might have worked better if the romance started to bloom as Ben developed more personality. I’m hoping that this will happen in the next book, which I do plan to read soon!
Interesting story: This year I’m doing fitness as an online class for school and I have to wear a big bulky, horribly ugly band around my wrist… for the WHOLE YEAR, practically all the time. When I got this ‘bracelet’, which tracks my steps, I kept fussing with it constantly and I really wanted to take it off. Suddenly I stopped, thought back to this book, and reorganized my point of view. I figure at least it won’t fatally shock me if I take it off, so it’s not that bad! XD
It’s still super annoying though.