The Blurb: In dystopian Manhattan, society is divided into six zones, with each one representing a citizen’s benefit to society: Stalwart (strength), Astute (intelligence), Collusive (greed), Radiant (beauty), Quixotic (no life direction), and the Altruistic (willingness to help others). On a citizen’s sixteenth birthday, a computer suggests a new zone for them based on their inherent benefit to society. When Kalenna Slater is sorted out of her home zone Quixotic and into Altruistic, she thinks things can’t get worse. Life looks dismal until she meets Gavin, a boy also just sorted into Altruistic who becomes the light needed on her cloudy days.
During sorting she receives a device known as ‘The Band’. It’s a large watch-like device that never comes off, and it measures a citizen’s karma on a scale from one to one hundred. If a citizen does good, they gain points. If a citizen does bad, including breaking laws, they lose points. When your number reaches zero, the band acts as judge, jury, and executioner, and you are injected with toxins that kill you within minutes.
After sorting, recruits are taken to a three month long mandatory school named HQ. It’s at HQ she meets new friends from different zones, and finally begins to feel at ease. Everything goes well until a rare trip home makes her discover that her father, who has been missing for a decade, may have taken part in a terrible program that stands to shake the fabric of society.
My Review: This was an enjoyable read, though at first, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read past the first couple of chapters. The similarities between this book and The Hunger Games was almost too much at the beginning of the book (the government punishing the rebellion by cracking down on every aspect of their lives, the city being divided into zones, the teens of a certain age being rounded up by the government). Even the sorting reminded me of a cross between The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. But, as some people say, there are no original ideas any more. As I read on, the story was different enough to where, though it might not have felt like a fresh idea, it was still an engaging read.
I liked Kalenna, Gavin, and their group of friends. Though there was some awkward phrasing, it was a fast-paced read. By the end of the book, I was invested in the characters and story, and would consider reading the next book in the series. This is a story I believe teens will enjoy. The lack of sexual content, mild language, and moderate (non-graphic) violence would make this book appropriate for readers age 12 and up
Note: This book is currently free on Amazon for those who would like to give it a try.