Published by: Corgi Children's Books on April 25, 2013
Genre: Action, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
Oh, ACID. You could have been amazing. You could have been wonderful. With a cover like that and a badass main character, you could have been the love of my bookish life. But, alas. After a glorious start, you kind of crashed and burned.
I have a handy dandy enjoyment graph to illustrate my thoughts:
ACID starts out strong—with a 17 year old badass who can take on fully grown, perverted men, and an epic prison break. I LOVED how Jenna kicked some serious ass and wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself. Then things immediately get moving with a prison break and Jenna is whisked away by mysterious “good samaritans”. The author feeds us some sneak peaks of what is to come, and promises us information and background story! ….which we don’t get until about 250 pages later.
The problem with ACID is that the questions just kept building and building, until we finally got answers 150 pages from the end, but at that point I had already guessed all the answers anyway. I hate it when you don’t have that moment of clarity and understanding along with the main character. I hate it when the main character has to catch up to you. I knew the answers (or at least strongly suspected), but then she found out hundreds of pages later and was like OH MY GOD! And I was like “Way ahead of you, girlie.”
So, in the beginning we get fed our questions, but before we get the answers we are treated to: a long “prisoners on the run” sequence, a half-developed love interest, and an entirely useless 75 pages of “My memory has been wiped” before the grand finale. View Spoiler » [In the second half of the book, Jenna has her memories wiped and ACID plants her in a new life to start fresh. We spend 75 pages living this new life with her.. seeing her new LifePartner, her new job, she makes a few new friends, etc. But the problem was these entire 75 pages were COMPLETELY useless, because obviously she gets her memory back and then immediately goes back to her previous life. You could literally just scrap those 75 pages and still understand the entire book. « Hide Spoiler]
There were a lot of interesting ideas in ACID but they don’t get as fleshed out as I would have liked. Overall we’re left with a pretty vague sense of the future and what London is like, and we have ZERO sense of what the rest of the world is like (what’s going on with the US or the rest of Europe?). However, there are a few cool snippets in the book that I did really like, including news articles, transcripts between ACID agents, and letters. They were an interesting and different way of presenting information, even if they did feel a bit random at times.
But so many of the events in ACID just felt random and strung together, rather than seamlessly intertwined. View Spoiler » [Like when we totally randomly read a letter from Jenna’s real mother.. It comes out of NOWHERE. Or her short interaction with the group of terrorists; it felt so fleeting and not all that connected to the overall story. And then the totally useless memory wiping thing. I just felt like so many of these plot lines didn’t connect as well as they should/could have. « Hide Spoiler]
If I had to compare ACID to another book, I would pick Delirium by Lauren Oliver or Matched by Ally Condie. ACID has a very similar vibe, with a futuristic world, a corrupt government, government-sponsored matchmaking, and completely controlled lives (you get told when you can have a baby, what job you will have, etc.). And then we have the rebellion aspect.
Ultimately, ACID ended up being only okay. So many parts of it felt half developed, unnecessary, or just waned entirely (like Jenna’s badassness). Other than the beginning—which I thought was awesome—I didn’t particularly love any part of this book… although I didn’t particularly hate any parts either. It was just.. ‘meh’.