Slated takes us to a future United Kingdom where teen criminals are sentenced to Slating. Their memories are erased, and they’re given a new identity. A clean slate.
It seems simple enough, but as sixteen-year-old Kyla tries to adjust to her new life, she can’t help but wonder what she did wrong. What horrible crime did she commit? And even though Slating erased her memory, some part of Kyla remembers to be afraid. Something warns her to hide what she thinks and what she feels from Dr. Lysander and to make sure she gives the teaching assistant Mrs. Ali the right answers. More importantly, she knows to not ask too many questions.
Kyla is all too aware that she isn’t contented and submissive like the other Slated kids. The harder she attempts to blend in, the more she sees how different she is, and different is dangerous. There are worse punishments than being Slated. When government officials show up at school and start arresting innocent people, Kyla realizes that she might not be the criminal they say she is. But if she’s not a criminal, then why was she Slated?
Slated is a welcome addition to the Young Adult genre, and author Teri Terry does a great job of creating the environment of constant fear you would expect in a dystopian society—weighing every word spoken, hiding thought and emotion, adhering to expected behaviors. Sometimes smiles and kindness are the biggest lies of all. Terry also give us the flip side, the reassurance that there are always people willing to do the right thing. Sometimes those we think are enemies turn out to be our greatest allies.
Some reviews claim the dystopian element wasn’t developed enough, but I’d argue that Slated is more of a personal story than a tale of a society gone wrong. The focus isn’t teens having their memories stolen from them. The focus is Kyla and why she was Slated, and the story poses some interesting questions about accountability and self-identity. Is there something inherently wrong with her? Should she be considered a criminal if she can’t remember what crime she committed? If Slating “cured” her, why does everyone still treat her like a criminal?
Slated will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium or Ally Condie’s Matched. While the romance element in Slated isn’t as strong as it is in Delirium or Matched, there’s still enough to keep readers happy.
Kyla’s story continues in Fractured. It’s scheduled for US release in September 2013.
©2013 Kim Vandel