Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 375 pages
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the concept is unique, interesting, and creative. Surviving on the island was gripping, with the two main factions fighting over territory, and Monk, the mysterious leader of the other faction, was fascinating. And I also appreciated the fact that you didn't know who Alenna could trust. I went back and forth with David. But it was hard to get past the romance and the way Gadya acted. Why are you even concerned about dating on this island? And they use the word dating. Really? Where did you go on your "dates"? So Gadya dumps Liam, but tells Alenna to stay away from him. And of course they're instantly drawn to each other and suddenly love each other after having maybe two conversations (there's an explanation for them being drawn to each other, but not an adequate one, if you ask me). Reaches a whole new level on the insta-love meter. And Gadya was such a bad-ass character, but the way she acted about Liam was just so ridiculous and unnecessary. If that part of the book (which in a way is not a huge portion of it) was done differently, I would have loved this book. And thankfully, no crazy in the middle of a scene cliffhanger.
In the end, I loved the story, the plot was fast-paced with unexpected twists and discoveries and plenty of characters are killed off (which was realistic). But the romance. Annoying.
Posted by: Pam