I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.
Slated opens with the newly named 16-year-old Kyla Davis being released from the hospital to her new family. Kyla has been "slated," a process that wiped out her memories and turned her into someone else. This is meant to give her and others in the same predicament a fresh start; a "clean slate." In the world of Slated (set in and around London in 2054), it seems as though there is practically an epidemic of teenage terrorists, working for the AGT (Anti-Govenment Terrorists). The slating program--at least officially--is an option for convicted violent juvenile offenders who are under 16 (the procedure cannot be done on someone 16 or older). Once they have been slated, they go through a process where they must relearn how to walk and talk, are tutored in-hospital, and eventually placed in high school once they have their new identity and new family. All "slaters" must wear a bracelet called a "Levo," that constantly monitors their emotional state through feedback from a chip that has been installed in the wearer's brain. The Levo always displays a digital reading called a "level." Higher numbers indicate a good, safe level, while lower ones indicate danger, suggesting the "slater" might engage in violence (self or other-directed). If it gets too low, the wearer will lose consciousness. Slaters sign a contract upon being released from the hospital, promising to do follow the rules of their school, society, and new family. If they are compliant, they can have their Levo removed at age 21, and become a fully reintegrated member of society.
Kyla soon discovers that she is different from most slaters (what heroine in a YA novel isn't in some way "different," right?). She has dreams that could contain memories from her pre-slated life. That is supposed to be impossible. Her Levo levels go higher (instead of lower) when she gets very angry--something else that is not supposed to happen. And why do "Lorders" (law-and-order officers) sometimes show up at her school and take away certain students? Why do they haul off a teacher? Before long, Kyla meets some people who show her evidence that there is more to the "slating" story than she has been told. An underground website belonging to the MIA (missing in action) organization shows that children all over the country are simply disappearing. One of the listings is for ten-year-old Lucy Connor, whose predicted current appearance is a near-match for Kyla.
Kyla is also short. (I grumbled about this in one of my updates, as it seems every YA novel I read lately stars a short girl--Divergent, Delirium, and now Slated. YA novelists: please give me a TALL GIRL as a protagonist--a 6"-tall AMAZON. As an antidote? If not, I might have to just write one myself!)
I began this book with some skepticism--"Oh, another YA dystopian novel with a crazy premise"--but Teri Terri drew me in bit by bit. How did the UK get to this state? There are some suggestions about economic collapse and isolationism. I am intrigued to learn more in the subsequent installments. The book does end in a cliffhangerish place, and I now have to wait until September 2013 for the US release. ::sulk::