Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: February 26, 2013
Page count: 304
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, via NetGalley
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
In a world where babies are genetically engineered, they are made in twos. Each person has an alt, and each person must face and kill their alt. It's kill or be killed. The survivor is the stronger of the two, the one more fit to live in the world.
Children are taught how to kill and survive in school. There are actual classes for it. Until you kill your alt, you are not really a full member of society. It is encouraged to kill your alt, because if not, neither live.
For West, things are going as planned, until something happens that shakes West to the core. When its time for her to kill her alt, she doesn't know if she can, or should. Instead, West goes out on her own and makes her own life.
My thoughts...I have mixed feelings about West. Don't get me wrong, I highly enjoyed the book. I read it in no time and am ready for Divided. I do have to say, I am very curious as to where the story will move along from here. But, I had issues with West. Here we have this girl that is so damn ready to get her assignment and kill her alt. She wants to go see friends kill their alts. She is all about it. And pissed that she can't have advanced weapon and combat training. She is a strong character. She knows who she is.
Then something happens...
And the West I liked fell apart. She becomes a renegade, not caring about herself or anyone else really. She loses it. I did not like this. I began to lose to respect for West. By the end of the book, some of it came back. I still liked her, I just didn't respect her as a character very much. And that could be the way it was intended. Where I feel West took the easy way out, the cheating way out, she would very much disagree. It is what it is. And a certain part of the story was over way too quickly. All of this intense lead up to have it end in no time. I was a little bummed about it.
Even though West was not my most favorite book person, I still feel she is a strong female lead. She could have been stronger, but hey, that's my opinion. And I guess the story would have been quite different had West not done what she did...oh wow. Can't think too much on that, else my brain goes all nutso and I contemplate all of the actions of previous reads' characters... O.o
All in all. Fantastic debut by Elsie Chapman. And a fun dystopia society to read about. I would love to read a novel, or even novella from BOTH alts' points of view. Yeah, the ending of that would be odd..but would be one hell of a read! Definitely put this one on your to-read list! And yay to Elsie for an awesome debut!