by Teri Terry
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
on January 24, 2013
My summary: A few decades into the future, England has developed a new method of rehabilitating troubled teens. Their memories are wiped clean, and they are given new identities and new lives. Known as Slateds, these teens wear special bracelets that monitor their moods and teach them to control their emotions. As a Slated, Kyla is placed with a new family and encouraged to integrate herself back into society. She tries, but she's plagued by disturbing nightmares. Then people around her start to be dragged away by the authorities. Is Kyla's past really behind her, or is it the key to finding out what's really going on?
My take: I have serious dystopian fatigue lately, but I was won over by this book's premise. While the memory wipe is not new, (this stuff happens in Harry Potter, and in movies like Paycheck, Men In Black, etc. etc.) I don't recall it being used as a form of rehabilitation. That part of Slated is very cool. I mean, in an increasingly high-tech world, it seems like our penal system has remained rather primitive.
In the futuristic world of the book, England reached a state of crisis over terrorism and gang violence and the country had to deal with a large number of teen offenders. These Slateds remain under close observation until they are re-taught basic life skills, then are reintegrated into a new life. This is where we meet Kyla. She's now the daughter of parents she's never met, attending a new school, and trying to figure out who she is without her memories. That part of the book is very cool. There are a lot of intriguing clues doled out throughout the story -- the death of Kyla's foster mom's biological son, Kyla's mysterious and disturbing dreams, and a memorial at school to a busload of teenagers killed by terrorists.
Kyla is an appealing character -- a good blend of strong and vulnerable. The family who fosters her is also nicely drawn -- a tough as nails mother who shows a softer side, a father who seems nice but is clearly hiding something, and a sweet foster sister. I enjoyed watching Kyla navigate her new life, though at some point when everyone she comes into contact with starts to be dragged off by the authorities, I felt like she should have wised up a little faster.
I also wish Slated's political landscape had been more nuanced. There seem to be two equally unappealing factions: the dictatorial Lorder (Law and Order) group and the violent AGT (Anti-Government Terrorists.) There's also a serious problem in the romance department. While the book seems to be pushing Kyla toward the very blah Ben, I was mentally pushing her toward brainy computer geek Mac -- seriously, does every computer nerd have to be named Mac? -- who works on some Top Secret website that tries to track missing teens who might have been Slated. See note below**
I also think Slated could have been wrapped up in one volume. Things dragged a little at times, and when the ending came, I was a little aggravated that, once again, I'd have to wait a year to find out how the story wraps up.
That said, I do think Slated is a stand-out in the hugely crowded YA dystopian field. Slated's premise is fresh, the writing is good, and the book raises a lot of thought-provoking ideas -- something a lot of dystopian books seem to forget about as they focus on love triangles and makeovers. If you love dystopian fiction, definitely give Slated a try.
**My blogger friend KimbaCaffeinate points out in comments that Mac is 22 and a little too old for sixteen year-old Kyla. Good point. I guess I blocked that out. Okay, new theory: Kyla isn't really 16. I mean, she has no memory. She doesn't know how old she is. So maybe she is 17. Can you tell I'm a Mac fan?
This book will be part of my Freebie Friday: RAK on February 1!
That's an interesting plan to deal with troubled teens but I'm left wondering how they deal with troubled adults...unless they're all caught as teens and rehabilitated then? I'm honestly most won over by the mention of the brainy computer geek-I'm looking for some more good book boys!ReplyDelete
Pretty sure that they only consider people under 17 as able to be Slated. So if you are an adult, you're out of luck.Delete
I just read The Program arc and this sounds very similar. I might give Slated a chance, or I might wait until all the books are out. I really am interested by how much our memories make us who we are, so I'm cool with this being a new trend in YA fiction. Well, newish.ReplyDelete
I also love books about memory. As long as there aren't too many flashbacks!!Delete
Great review, interesting about Mac, I liked him but for some reason I saw him as being much older then Kyra..LOL.ReplyDelete
Yup, you're right, he's 22, darn it.Delete
I've been interested in this one for awhile, since its release in the UK last year. I'm a little bummed about the romance though, but that is something I should be able to overlook. I'll have to check it out sometime! :)ReplyDelete
Well, I don't think dystopians need tons of swoony romance so I'm okay for a book not to have that. But if there is a romance, I need to believe it. I don't need constant making out and staring into each others' eyes, but least give me a little chemistry!Delete
I'm getting a little tired of all the dystopians, too. I'm trying not to start any new series, and since this book didn't WOW you, I'm thinking I'll pass. Sounds interesting, but not enough for me to try to fit it into my schedule. Thanks for the honest review!ReplyDelete
I really wished this had been a standalone!!Delete
I'm a big fan of memory loss books because I feel like there is a lot you can do with them. This one sounds really interesting. The romance I don't think would bother me. I mean technically she is legal if she is 16. When I was 16 I was dating a 20 year old. We actually liked each other before I was 16, but waited until after I turned 16 to start dating. Anyways, now I am just babbling. Great review.ReplyDelete
YIKES -- I have caused so much trouble -- by accident. There is no underage thing. I just wished that the main character could be with the guy I found much more interesting, until Kimba pointed out that he was out of high school.Delete
Lol why not just name the geek Imac :P and make it more obvious...ReplyDelete
Great review by the way, I will have to come back to it once I choose to take another look at this book. It sounded interesting but I am still very much on the fence on it.
There is Mac in Veronica Mars, well, and the guy on the Apple commercials...Delete
I started reading this today so I'm not going to read your review yet! So far I'm just irritated because on the first page of chapter 1 the main character says 'I don't know nothing'ReplyDelete
That seriously annoys me - if you don't know nothing, then you must know something, if you really know nothing, then you don't know anything.
How did an editor miss this?? Double negatives drive me insane! Think I might be in a bad mood today....
LOL -- I didn't notice that. I guess having her memory wiped made her forget grammar?Delete
I like Lily's comment about Mac's name. Lol!ReplyDelete
This was a book I was interested in, but wanted to wait to read a few reviews first. I always appreciate reading yours to help with my decision. I'm a little on the fence now, but never say never. I have a feeling I'd probably end up liking Mac more too, if Ben isn't that interesting. Great review Jen!
The premise is really interesting and the mystery grabbed me. I just really don't want to be in the middle of another series.Delete
I just read a book (Mind Games) where the guy was much older and for some reason I didn't really notice until the end. I was all for him then got a little skeeved by it lolReplyDelete
I also think far too many series are trilogies when they could easily be wrapped uo in one or two books.
I agree -- sometimes that really bothers me, but other times (like Rose and Dimitri) it doesn't.Delete
I love this cover! Like you I'm kind of over dystoptia right now so maybe I'll read it some day. Thanks for the review!ReplyDelete
It is a beautiful cover!Delete
This sounds like something I will like a lot, especially since you seemed to like Kyra.ReplyDelete
Happy reading with <3, Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog
She was a great character and I do enjoy memory books!Delete
Loved this review! I haven't had a chance to read this book but I love the way you describe. Seems like something I could get into.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed it.Delete
Hehe! Trying to bump up the girls age so she'll be age appropriate for the guy? I'm down with that. Can't wait to read this one and meet Mac for myself ;)ReplyDelete
Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction
Okay, whew finally someone who understands. I just want her to have a better love interest.Delete
I totally know what you mean about dystopian fatigue... but this one sounds interesting... I'll have to see if my library has it. Not that I have time to read my library books or anything. :)ReplyDelete
I have it bad!!!!Delete
Maybe they name computer geeks Mac after the Apple laptop? XD And yeah, I'm kinda getting tired of the dystopian trends too- first vampires, then angels, werewolves- who knows what's next? But you're right, the premise is kinda unique with the memory removal, as opposed to just the super oppressive government. I never really wanted to read this book, but I might just read it. :)ReplyDelete
Give it a try!Delete
This book has been on my radar for awhile, but I hadn't read any reviews. But you've convinced me with this one! I appreciate the fair critiques, but it sounds like it's worthwhile since you enjoyed it anyway.ReplyDelete
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
This sounds interesting! I remember wanting to read it at first, but now I'm not so sure ... it seems like there are a lot of little quirks going on! And the whole 22 and 16 year old thing would bother me. Meh. We'll see!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing!
No -- there is NO relationship between them in the book besides friendship. I just want him to be younger or her to be older because he's an interesting character. He's a computer nerd who builds cars!Delete
That is a good point about the ages. 16 is still such a child.ReplyDelete
I'm still enjoying Dystopian.
Yes, I accept the fact that she can't be with Mac. *sniff*Delete
I agree with the blah Ben comment and was hoping for Mac. At this point I would just settle for Nico LOL. He seems much more interesting xDReplyDelete
Bts, isn't her name Kyla, or was that could I read the UK version?
You're right. I called her Kyla in my summary and then switched to Kyra for some reason. Duh! I fixed it.Delete
Finally finished!! Have to say that I thought the pacing was a bit slow, and the number of questions unanswered by the end is irritating. I can't say that I really liked mac or ben, but at least mac had something about him! I think you're right about this could have been a standalone, I swear if the pacing had been a bit faster, this could have been done in one book. I'm just hoping that there is only 1 more book to go and that this isn't a trilogy.ReplyDelete
Omg! I felt the same way about 'pushing her towards Mac,' and just 'meh' about Ben. I don't think I really paid much attention to the age gap either. Loved your review!ReplyDelete