Paperback, 431 pages
April 25th 2013 by Corgi Children's Books/Random House Children's Publishing
2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.
The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.
Source: Harriet + Random House UK (Thanks!!)
With giants like The Hunger Games and Divergent dominating the dystopian scene, it’s difficult to not compare new dystopian titles to them. Acid has the basic elements of a dystopian novel: an unsatisfied society, an oppressed population and corruption and lies. Aside from the basics, Acid stands out because of the strength and spunk of Jenna, who could rival Katniss when it comes to badassery, and the twists and turns that I didn't see coming.
Jenna Strong was a character that strutted into my reading life, knowing that I’d adore her from the start. I reacted to her pretty much the same way that I reacted to Katniss Everdeen. But what I liked about Jenna was that she was a trooper. She took everything not with a smile but with fierce determination and confidence that she can survive anything and everything that ACID throws at her. Although Jenna was not a perfect character. She was flawed. She tended to act on impulse, valuing emotions more than logic. These imperfections made her Jenna. Considering her age and her miserable past, I don’t blame her for acting so.
When it comes down to the love interest, Max, I have nothing negative to say. He was charming in his own way albeit naive at times. The story was more focused on Jenna and as a result, there was little chance to get to know Max more. There was no instalove, just to be clear. If I will compare Jenna and Max to the YA couples in other dystopian novels, they weren't exactly as romantic the typical dystopian couple. The relationship that they have was more or less the same to the relationship that Katniss and Peeta have in The Hunger Games (Book 1). As a reader, I got to see their relationship from different angles. The necessary and unwanted lies that mask the truth collide against the growing love that Jenna and Max have.
The plot was interesting and managed to surprise and shock me from time to time. Although I had this 6th sense for possible upcoming scenarios while I was reading Acid, I have to admit that it kept me at the edge of my seat. As the story moved forward, I was pulled deeper and deeper into the heart of ACID's corruption and lies, the layers of Jenna's life and the complicated lives of the mysterious group that helped Jenna. The plunge into her complicated, thrilling and always-on-the-run life was unforgettable as a reader. Although the constant unpredictability in Jenna's life might jolt other readers in a negative way, I'm sure that readers who love twists and turns will absolutely enjoy Acid. When it comes to worldbuilding, Pass sprinkles enough details to visualize the actual setting and shows the condition of the society on various levels. The news articles that come in between chapters were a nice touch. It was like actually waking up in Acid's story world and reading the latest news prepared by ACID. The striking differences between what was reported and what actually happened highlighted the lies that ACID kept spinning.
Acid is thrilling, shocking and action-packed. It kept me on the edge of my seat, reading page after page, not knowing how it would all end. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games, readers who like prison break stories aka always-on-the-run stories, readers who love twists and turns and readers who prefer action over romance in their dystopian reads.