Author: Teri Terry (author website)
Release Date: 12 May 2012 by Orchard Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Back when I reviewed Slated, I made what I thought was some clever, pithy remark, questioning the water supply in Britain, and how it keeps coming up with these brilliant British writers. Err, turn's out Teri's not British, really. No, she's just her own brand of obscenely, atypically brilliant. In any case,
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth
The Story:Kyla Davis is no-one. She has been Slated. Her memories, her past, her life erased; her synapses rewired, and her mind wiped blank.
Sent to live with a new mum and dad—not that she would know the ‘old’ ones from a bar of soap—Kyla tries to fit in, to make sure the monitor on her wrist shows her emotions stay level, to be balanced, and a functional, integrated member of society. But Kyla is not like other Slated teens… Kyla asks questions she should not, thinks things Slateds should not be able to… but worst of all, Kyla seems to have ghosts of memories, terrifying nightmares that couldn’t actually be real, could they?
Slating is meant to be a second chance—a clean slate for criminal teens. But when you don't even know yourself, who can you trust? As terrifying truths about her world, and about slating become clear, Kyla begins to question everything she’s known in her short second life...
My Thoughts:Fluidly moving from Kyla’s easy, flowing narrative to fast-paced, frantic stream-of consciousness, Terry delivers a protagonist with a truly unique voice. Kyla is fascinating, clever, she questions everything, and she’s a keen observer. While in many ways she’s adult and intelligent, in others, she is almost childlike, seeing the world for the first time, allowing the reader to learn it along with her. Slateds must re-learn to walk, to talk. They are completely unaware of the dangers in their world, that knives are sharp, fire burns. Having been slated, Kyla is a blank slate. She has no memories of her past, of who she is—or should have no memories—but she does have a distinct personality.
A palpable sense of foreboding permeates Slated’s pages, a feeling of menace very much like Orwell’s totalitarian England—and Big Brother is watching. As Kyla navigates her new world, she takes the reader with her, uncertainty painting everything grey and shadowy, and it is never clear who to trust. A teacher? A friend? Perhaps a parent? A wrong word to the right person, or a sign of dissent, and people disappear. Missing adults, friends, children. Slating is meant for criminals, for terrorists… but can a government with this kind of power be trusted? Herein lays the brilliance of Terry’s construct: the cold, terrifying reality is that Slating is a draconian government’s ultimate weapon. Opposition can’t very well speak up when their voices and memories are stolen. Even an imprisoned terrorist has a voice. Slating is something far more sinister.
Slated is not an action-oriented thriller in the ilk of The Hunger Games. It’s not a tale of explosions, or edge-of-seat live-or-die exploits. This is a more underhanded, sly, pervasive threat and menace. Dystopian fiction is at its most effective and frightening when presenting a reality that is conceivable, and believable. This type of novel hinges not only on its audience's ability to believe such a thing could come to pass, but—just as Orwell did in 1984—plays on the innate fear that it is already happening, already here, that this is a future we could very well face if we do not take a good, hard look at ourselves. Terry presents a world terrifyingly close to our own, one that is halfway here, and it seems she is challenging her readers to not only think as they read Slated, to discover it, and Kyla’s, secrets, but to question what they know, contemplate the value of their basic civil liberties, and what ‘self’ truly means.
Political statements and brilliance aside, some of Slated’s most compelling facets are its human ones. From tender to terrifying, sweet to infuriatingly unfair, Kyla’s interactions with the world and people around her are what give it heart. Kyla’s relationship with her ‘Mum’ is touching, and fascinating to watch grow, and those with her Doctor and teachers are worrisome and murky. But it is Kyla’s developing attachment to fellow slated boy, Ben, which has the biggest impact on her, and indeed sets many of Slated’s events in place. Slated is certainly not a romance—though its moments of tenderness are heart-warming—and if anything, Kyla’s most important relationship is the hugely complicated one she has with herself.
The Verdict:Slated combines the feeling of Orwellian oppression and corruption with something new: the teenage experience. That sense of powerlessness; a sense, not of invincibility, but of hope, not yet tempered or tainted by defeat. There are moments in its pages that are crushingly bleak, and others brimming with hope; but the most ubiquitous feeling of all is that of overwhelming injustice and corruption. Chilling, confronting, and un-put-downably good, Slated will leave you thinking long after its final pages are turned... and howling for more.
Books in This Series:
- Slated (2012)
- Fractured (Expected Summer 2013)