Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publication: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 10, 2012)
Description: A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.
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.
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My Thoughts: The Forsaken was a well-written and entertaining dystopia. In this near future the United States has been taken over by a military junta led by the charismatic Minister Harka. Dissidents like Alenna's parents are taken away by the military leaving Alenna as a bewildered orphan who is determined to fit in. All teens have a mandatory test when they are sixteen to see if they are proper citizens. Those who fail are sent to The Wheel which is an isolated island. Alenna is sure she will pass because she has been blending in and trying to be invisible for the six years since her parents were taken. However, she is wrong.
Alenna wakes up on The Wheel along with another person from her city. David and she are almost immediately captured by Drones who want to make them slaves and take them to serve their leader - the Monk. Alenna is rescued from the Drones by Gadya and taken to her village in the Blue sector. David was recaptured by the Drones. Alenna is tested by the leaders of Gadya's group and passes. She is busy trying to fit in and be useful.
Then there is a boy. Liam is one of the hunters for the group. She had seen him on the video feeds from the island when her class was on a field trip and been fascinated by him. When she meets him on the island she is still fascinated but he and Gadya had a relationship and Gadya warns her off.
The kids want to try to find a way off the island and form an expedition to search the Grey sector which is protected by some sort of force barrier. Also to get to the Grey sector they have to travel through territory controlled by the Monk and his drones. David has escaped from the Drones and wants to be part of Alenna's group but he isn't trusted. He does tell Alenna that he has seen some stones in the Grey with carvings that have her name on them which were left by her parents. Alenna is determined to go and see if she can find out what happened to her parents.
The story is filled with danger and excitement as a small group of kids try to get to the Grey to see if there is a way off the island. Naturally, Alenna is one of the few who actually completes the journey. Along the way she suffers loss and heartbreak. Once in the Grey she learns some of the secrets that she wants to know.
Since this is the first book in a trilogy the big issues are not resolved but the story does leave Alenna in a place where some answers are possible. Fans of dystopias will enjoy this entry into a genre filled with exciting stories.
"You and Rika can go stuff your kindness!" Gadya yells, cutting me off. "The Wheel doesn't respect kindness. Look what happened to Liam! And the others! And you just don't care."I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.
"The drones didn't take Liam, a feeler did," I say. "Maybe a feeler did this to the boy."