The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Published: 2nd August 2012
By: Orchard Books
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Alenna is shocked when she wakes up on the wheel, an island where kids who fail the GPPT test are sent. The GPPT is a test to identify future criminals and separate them from society. She was sure that she would pass.
She's heard the horror stories about the island, where the resident kids have a life expectancy of only 18 years. Scared and not knowing what to do, she starts to explore and comes across a boy who seems to have been dropped off at the same time as her, David.
As they try to find somewhere to spend the night, they are attacked by drones, wild kids who wear cloaks and paint their faces and are loyal to the monk. Alenna gets saved by Gatya, a warrior girl from one of the remaining villages not under the rule of the monk, but they can't save David and he is taken away by the drones, where they tell Alenna, he will either be killed or brain washed into their beliefs.
At the village, she meets Liam who she feels a connection with immediately and he apparently feels it too. This village is run by Viedman and he plans an expedition to head to the grey sector in the hope of finding a way off the island. This is an extremely dangerous trip where they have to cross into enemy territory and they know they won't all survive. But after hearing rumours that her parents were on the island, she knows she must go along if she is to ever find out what happened to her parents who were taken away when she was ten years old, and she was taken to an orphanage.
There was some info dumping on the first few pages which had my mind wandering but the story picked up when Alenna landed on the island, though I enjoyed the second half of this book more than the first.
I didn't feel the connection or the romance between Alenna and Liam until the end and he wouldn't have been my favourite of characters, but by the end of the book, which was surprising itself, I had warmed up to him a lot. It also took me a while to warm up to Alenna, but as her character grows throughout the story, I started to like her a lot more. She's courageous and emphatic and looks out for those around her.
The writing style was kind of odd at times when some of the sentences felt stunted, like there should have been commas instead of full stops, but really, it didn't take from my reading experience. This book wasn't amazing me at the beginning but something kept me going and I was looking forward to solving the mystery of the gray sector and the feelers. The last third of this book was when it really became interesting and the path it took me down was unexpected, but very welcome. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.