Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.
This week we’re discussing Dualed by Elsie Chapman. Here’s the scoop:
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her. –Goodreads
Sounds pretty crazy, right? Living in a world where you have a twin you are encouraged to kill, in fact, you must kill, by government mandate or you will both basically self-destruct. I can’t even imagine what nightmare would bring a society to that point, and I’m pretty sure I’d be the alternate who’d get mangled, so I don’t even want to go there. The whole premise and the setting of this book got me thinking about dystopias in general and what amazing, vivid worlds have come about from this genre. They aren’t exactly places I want to live, but they’re fascinating and frightening, some more plausible than others. Let’s explore a few.
District 12, The Hunger Games– The people who live in Panem know all too well the fear of watching their children be put at risk. Outside of practically going hungry in the horrendous living conditions for everyone outside of those who live in the Capitol, there are The Hunger Games. Two children from each district forced to play to death until the one remaining child can be named victor. I realize that most everyone knows this story, so it’s easy to sit back and not be impacted by the harshness of this society, but when you take a step back and put yourself in the position of these people it’s pretty frightening. They have no way to better themselves, no way to protect their kids.
Futuristic Space, Across the Universe Amy and her parents have been cryogenically frozen and set on a ship that is destined to land on a new planet…in three hundred years. Oh, you read that right. Something goes wrong and Amy wakes up early, stranded aboard a space ship (knowing that her friends and family on Earth are long-dead and her parents, who are integral to everyone’s survival on the new planet-cannot be unfrozen). And don’t even get me started on the insane business happening on that ship. It’s like a whole world functioning in space, only there is no escape from the insanity run amok. So good!
Dystopic Chicago, Divergent– At first glance this society doesn’t seem too, too terrible. There are factions. Each has a purpose, a gift. You decide which faction you’ll be in by the age of eighteen then whammo, life with those people begins. Only, if you leave the faction you were raised in, you basically say goodbye to your family for good. You live, eat and breathe your new faction. And as always, there are power conflicts and secrets between factions. Life and the city surrounding you is strange, gritty. Nothing is ever as it seems. That doesn’t even count the insane initiations our MC, Tris, has to go through to make it into her faction of choice, the Dauntless.
The Republic, Legend– This is an oppressive society that pretty much divides people into social classes. The poor starve and go without important medical treatments while those who work for the Republic live comfortably. Society is run by the military, and they are always at war–the history of the Republic is mysteriously alluded to as originally being part of the United States, but crumbled somewhere, loyalties divided between the Republic and the Colonies. The poor are starving, driven to criminal behavior (ie: stealing) to feed themselves and are viciously hunted for their crimes. You do NOT want to live here.
Strange Oppressive Society, Delirium– This is a unique society because while day-to-day life seems rather normal compared to ours (outside of weird curfews and such), it’s quite different. Love in all forms is outlawed, considered to be a disease by most. In order to avoid contracting amor deliria nervosa, teens have a surgery commonly referred to as The Cure. Only then are they safe from the ravages of this horrible disease. After surgery, people life simple lives. They marry and care for their spouses and children, but nothing is felt on a deep, emotional level. There are rumors that outside the walls of this society, in a place called The Wild, there are uncured people living like savages, hiding from the law, but Lena, the main character of our story, doesn’t know if it’s true. She wants the cure, and a normal life–until she falls in love.
Any other great dystopic societies you love (but would never, ever want to visit)?
Please be sure to check out my blogging partners in The Selective Collective as they explore Dualed:
The Book Addict’s Guide- Author Q&A
Gone Pecan-Roundtable Discussion
The Grown Up YA- Review
Teen Lit Rocks- Casting Call
Special thanks to Random House for providing review copies of Dualed!