The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
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.
As dystopian books go, there are much better ones than The Forsaken. The plotline is great, but it isn’t executed very well. The way Stasse writes creates a bit of disconnect to the characters, and readers don’t get to see them as many-sided. At times the relationships between characters are hopelessly confusing, like that of Alenna and David.
Still, The Forsaken doesn’t fall very far down the ranks. The civil war between the Wheel’s inhabitants - those belonging to a religious cult run by the only elder on the island, and those who haven’t gone crazy - is interesting and adds a lot to the book. A few good plot twists thrown in makeThe Forsaken a good read, if not a head-over-heels-in-love one. Plus it has a really awesome cover.
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