slated

Slated by Teri Terry

Kyla is just about ready to be released from the hospital after being Slated, her memory erased after she committed a crime.  She is sent to live with a new family and in a new life, unable to find out about who she had been and what caused her to be Slated.  But Kyla is different.  She has horrible nightmares that may or may not be flashbacks to her past.  She can draw, with both hands, something that she realizes could cause problems if discovered.  She has a voice in her head, cautioning her about things and not revealing too much.  But because Kyla is different, she may also be in more danger than anyone else.  Can she continue to follow the rules and pretend to be just another happy Slated teen?  Or will the truth she discovers be too much to maintain the façade?

In her debut novel, Terry has created a dystopian science fiction future that is dangerously possible.  The setting is the United Kingdom, but one that has changed entirely to a police state where ideas that are dangerous to those in power are worthy of getting Slated.  Against that already tense background, the drama of Slated teens plays out, struggling to learn to live, to think for themselves, and to find their way.  Teens will see their own struggles here, relating quickly to the premise.

Kyla is an intriguing heroine, she realizes she is different, but has no perception as to why.  Terry allows Kyla to be a true enigma to herself and to the reader.  This makes for a compelling read, but the reveal is placed so close to the end of the book that it feels hurried.  I would have liked to see either another chapter after the final one to help with that feel or for more hints to have been given ahead of time and along the way.  But that is a minor quibble and I was happy to see that this is the first in a series.

This fascinating and dark look into a possible future is filled with foreboding and lifted by strong writing.  Fans of Hunger Games will enjoy this new heroine facing different challenges in an equally ferocious world.  Appropriate for ages 14-16.

Reviewed from copy received from Penguin.