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Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Title: The Forsaken
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Pages: 375
Rating: 4 out of 5

Challenges: Dystopian
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): Un-named Pacific Island

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author for review

Summary (from Amazon): Alenna Shawcross hasn't seen her parents since they were dragged out of her house by government soldiers of the UNA, a new nation formed from the remnants of Canada, the USA, and Mexico. And now, as a sixteen-year-old orphan, she has failed a government personality test designed to diagnose subversive tendencies.

As punishment Alenna is banished to the Wheel, a mysterious island where all the kids who fail get sent. It's a place where the conditions are brutal, and a civil war rages between two very different tribes of teenagers. So when Alenna meets Liam, a charismatic warrior who is planning to escape, she must find the strength to make a difficult decision: either accept her new life on the Wheel, or embark on a journey that will uncover shocking secrets about the UNA--and her own identity as well.

Review: I am such a sucker for good YA dystopian fiction! I do have a bit of guilt about this book since the author asked me to read it in July and it is almost the end of September and I am finally reviewing it! But, it was worth the wait. I read this book in just a few days and really enjoyed it.

While there are similarities to other popular dystopian novels out there: teens attacking one another; a mystery location; a domineering government; a love interest; and a strong female character, it also has a lot of new elements which make it a fun read.

Alenna discovers her strength as the book progresses, but she isn't a wimp from the beginning. She is smart, aware of what is going on around her, and she is intuitive, knowing whom to trust from the start. I also liked that the Wheel reveals itself slowly through Alenna's eyes. The various tribes on the island mirror those in our society: the "good" and giving village that Alenna joins, the outliers, and the religious but violent group. But, like in life, the groups are deeper than they appear at first, with much more behind the facade to which Alenna is first exposed.

The secondary characters are also good and varied, helping the story to progress at a believable pace. I figured there was going to be a happy ending, and there is, kind of. But there is also room for another book (I don't know if one is planned) to tie up all the loose ends for characters that I cared about, but whose fate is unknown.

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