It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.
The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.
The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.
country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt,
but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be
curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit,
no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.
But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.
It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT: OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.
My first Sarah Mussi book told of a terrifyingly real possibility; the risk of over-population in Britain is putting a strain on our sources, so the government has enforced a law to sterilize the lower classes, the less-likely to succeed, those deemed unworthy. A lot of the technical details were as horrifying as the gory stuff, the riots, the deaths, which made the story all the more gripping. I actually read it in a day, the first time I've ever done that! The story just flowed so smoothly, it was impossible to put down.
Tia was in many ways the perfect heroine: she was smart and brave but not reckless, she kept her cool and saved the day but freaked out when necessary. Plus Mussi wrote her some pretty amazing character development; just over the few days that it is set, Tia grows from an idealistic, poor little rich girl to have a much better understanding of the way the world works. That being said, I did have some minor issues with Tia; for a hacker, she was pretty useless at staying off the radar; she didn't seem to appreciate the things friends and strangers alike did to help her and I wanted much more on her friendships outside the whole 'running for your life' thing.
Tia met Cobain properly when they were both trapped in a building he just set fire to. Yeah, I know, genius. But apart from that awful first, and second, impression, Cobain turns out to be a pretty damn good partner in crime, with his rebellious nature and cute green eyes. They had a good instant connection that didn't translate to insta-love, which is always a bonus. He proved himself to be strong and determined, not to mention stubborn and with his own skills of arson, staying hidden and getting away (mostly) unharmed.
Thinking about it now, there are quite a few nit-picky issues that could be found in the plot and storyline, like the believability of the government being hijacked by one influential man, and the likelihood that it would be able to topple so easily at the end. But when reading it, I didn't notice any of this. All I saw were the cracking characters, the horrific and a little bit cringe-worthy back story, and the near-perfect blend of dystopia and romance. Well worth a read.
Published 1st May 2014 by Hodder's Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.