Release Date: May 3rd 2012
Publisher: Ochard Books
Add it: Goodreads
Preorder: Book Depository / Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Kyla has been 'slated': all of her past memories erased, her entire personality wiped blank. She has been assigned a new name, a new date of birth and even new parents. The government that did this to her claim she was a terrorist, and that she has been given a second chance. But Kyla knows that the government has been lying. Without her memories, how will Kyla ever find the truth? And if her old self is really and truly dead, then what are the terrifying images that still haunt her dreams?
Slated offers such a fascinating premise. Teenagers are given a 'second chance' at life after committing some horrible crime. Their memories are removed and everything that contributed to their personality.... are wiped away. They spend months in hospital relearning how to function and then they're taken in by a new family. This will be their new life and they will take to it with a smile and an obedient nod of the head. Because that's all Slateds are - troubled teens the government has brainwashed into happy little robots. All except Kyla. While individuality is a good thing for most, for the Slated it is not. You're not supposed to be able to think for yourself after the surgery. To question, to ponder, to want to know things. Kyla does. And if the people in power knew the extent of her own personal control... her very life could be at stake.
Kyla was a fantastic protagonist. Teri layered her brilliantly - her reintroduction to this big, scary world, her fears and vulnerabilities and the bold, curious girl hiding within. I really enjoyed watching her grow into herself, whoever that may be. Through her terrifying dreams, we're given possible clues to her past. Who she was before they took stole her identity from her. But does she really want to know? Her dreams are of torture and being trapped, of pain and fear... why would she want to remember a life like that? What kind of person must she have been to have deserved such treatment? To even be Slated in the first place? The more you learn about Kyla, the deeper the mystery runs and as more questions arise, the more wicked the plot becomes.
I found the amount of control over the Slateds to be infuriating. On the surface, it might appear 'fine'. It's rehabilitation, they assimilate into a new family, new school, make friends among peers. But always someone is watching, taking notes, monitoring and controlling their emotions. And the constant interferences with small things like taking an art class, running track or spending a little too much time with a boy. Those who are Slated are supposedly criminals, even terrorists. So this is a second chance - a privilege, not a right. Does that make it any easier to swallow? No. It's frustrating and you want to reach through and strangle a few choice people on more than one occasion!
There's a sense of foreboding as people start to go missing. People Kyla knows. One after another. Each time it's someone who's said something we're all thinking, but it's the wrong thing to be heard by others. The government has an iron-tight grip over this future society and they don't tolerate those who show the slightest hint of rebellion. What happens to the people they drag away? Who will be next? And how long before Kyla slips up and says the wrong thing to the wrong person? You can't help but worry about her, because while she's strong in her own way, you want to take her under your wing and make sure she stays safe. There are sinister games at play and one wrong move could see her gone forever.
I loved how Teri made me change my perception on so many of the characters over the course of the novel. From Kyla's mum and dad, to Amy, Phoebe and Ben. First impressions are not always the most reliable, there are hidden depths to everyone. The ending was a frustratingly good cliffhanger, which has me desperate to get my hands on the sequel to see how things will play out. There is clearly so much more to this story, threads that run deeper, journeys that are about to get a whole lot more complicated.... and dangerous.
With its gripping mystery, compelling characters and sweet, budding romance, Slated is a thought-provoking novel that offers something fresh and exciting to the market!
4/5 Golden Apples!