Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Febrary 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 304
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at NCTE
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
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.
Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
First Thought: So much suspense! Could not stop reading until I found out how it would end.
DUALED was an intense, kill or be killed, fight to the finish. I had to keep turning pages to know what was going to happen with West and which Alt would survive the final confrontation. The basis of this world where each is born with an Alt and gets "activated" sometime between 10 and 20, and then has only 30 days to hunt down and kill the Alt, or be killed, or both be destroyed after the time ends lends itself to a ticking clock of suspense in the background driving the momentum of the whole story.
In a world full of killers and surrounded by guns, are you the hunted or the hunter, or both at the same time? Which one will be smarter, stronger, or just luckier in the end? When 50% of the population must be killed off, can you ever feel safe with your family and friends, or know that they'll stay around? All of these drive the plot of this story in this dystopic future, which I want to know even more about.
We're given glimpses into the world, and how it came to be, and what might be outside, and what led to them being there, and who might be against the way they live...which makes me so glad there is a sequel coming in 2014 so we can find out what happens next. Although I figured I knew how the story would have to end, that didn't stop my heart from pounding, my gasping out loud, or my yelling at the characters to stay safe and smart and not give up. I enjoyed spending this time with West and Chord, and although it was frightening at times, it was a well-developed world that was created down to the tiniest details of how things operate for idles vs. actives vs. completes.
Final Thoughts: So glad there's going to be a sequel to this "HUNGER GAMES to the nth degree meets...something" world of this story.