Wednesday 3 July 2013

ACID, by Emma Pass

ACID, by Emma Pass
Published by Random House Children's Publishing

ACID - the most brutal police force in history. They rule with an iron fist. They see everything. They know everything. They locked me away for life.
My crime? They say I murdered my parents. I was fifteen years old.
My name is Jenna Strong. 
Firstly, thank you very much to Totally Random Books for sending me a copy of this - I won a competition, woohoo! Plus I owe another thank you since this book saved my life a bit on holiday. I've already mentioned that my Kindle broke a week in, and this was the only paperback in my suitcase.

It was for that reason that I was hoping the book would be fairly mediocre. I could take my time, ration the pages and make it last for as long as possible. Did that happen? Nope. The book was full of twists and, while I could guess some of the events before they were about to happen, I was completely surprised a few times by some unexpected turns. I finished it in a couple of days, and then managed to get my friend to read it in exchange for her Kindle - she enjoyed it too!

Firstly, I really liked Jenna Strong. She's a really strong character - one that readers might want to be, without being infallible. She more than managed to hold her own as the only girl (let alone teenaged) in a male prison, after all. While there is a love interest in the story and it was pretty instalove-ish, it wasn't overwhelming and (other than the events surrounding how they met/got on) I found Jenna's feelings on the matter to be fairly realistic at times. Also, within the book there are newspaper reports and different types of media scattered throughout, so as to give different perspectives and tease a little about what was about to come Jenna's way. I loved that!

To me, ACID was a contemporary, young adult version of 1984. Now, I know I've made a similar comparison recently (with Uglies), and it's not something I intend on doing often, but let me explain. While the government (also the police force, known as ACID) can't watch the doings of the population through a telescreen, they can make sure citizens watch their news updates for at least 5 hours a day, give people a LifePartner (a compulsory arranged marriage based on compatibility) and make sure those who step out of line are informed upon and punished. Every person must have an identity card - which they use in a similar way to London's Oyster, but to pay for anything - and a komm, which I pictured like the below, from Doctor Who. It's like a heavily censored mobile phone/internet device. While there are obviously differences between the two books, do you see what I mean?!

I've read a fair few reviews of this book on Goodreads and other blogs, and note that a few of them mention the number of plot holes. Thinking back to when I was reading the book, I can see a couple but for me at the time, I didn't much care. The pace and events were fast and exciting enough for me to stay interested and not question things too much. Plus, as far as I know it was the same for my friend - the only thing she picked up on that jarred her was the use of the first person present tense. If you like dystopias, definitely give this one a try!

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