Dualed

Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Pages: 290
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5

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.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was faced-paced an exciting, just what I’ve been in the mood for. Dualed is part dystopian, part thriller, part spy-ish story with a teensy bit of romance thrown in for kicks.

I liked that even though this book was a dystopian, it didn’t follow the typical trajectory of books in the genre. So far at least, there’s no revolution, although as always there is an oppressive, corrupt government. I think it was interesting to see a character do what she was supposed to for once (obviously I’m feeling like the revolutionary road plot of dystopians is getting a little old). Because West did as her government commanded, I felt surprised by this book in a way I haven’t felt about dystopians for a while.

West was a pretty badass heroine as well. Her struggles with letting people in and doing what had to be done really hit a chord (no pun intended) with me for some reason, and I liked how uber-tough she was. I do wish I’d gotten a little more background on strikers, since I think that would have made her choice to become one even more interesting, but maybe that part of the story will be developed in the rest of the series.

And Chord. Chord was perfect, starting right from his name. I loved that Elsie Chapman really made the names in this story kind of futuristic/dystopian too, because it really reinforced the foreignness of West’s violent world. Plus, they were just really cool.

I liked that unlike many boys in YA lit, Chord was there for West without being stifling and overbering and trying to do everything for her. He let her open up to him as she was ready, so it was even more meaningful when he did.

I really have no idea what could possibly be in store for the rest of the series since this resolved so well, but I will be watching for Divided like a hawk. Four for you, Elsie Chapman. You go, Elsie Chapman. You go.

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