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Acid    by Emma Pass order for
by Emma Pass
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Acid by Emma Pass is set in a dystopian future (2113) Britain, where the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense (ACID) rules every aspect of life, to the extent of arranged marriages and jobs for young people, with 1984-like surveillance over their lives. It stars Jenna Strong, the tough young style of heroine that has recently come into vogue. But though she's been compared to Katniss Everdeen and Lisbeth Salander, her story does not flow nearly as smoothly as theirs do.

Still, it's an interesting read. As the tale begins, Jenna is in jail for life for the murder of her parents - though she has trouble remembering the details she believes herself guilty. Survival in prison has been tough as Jenna is the only female prisoner, but she's learned to defend herself with the help of the prison medic, Dr. Alec Fisher. And it's he who helps orchestrate her escape from jail, though he dies in the process.

On the run, Jenna is helped by a resistance movement (Foundation for Rights, Emancipation and Equality) and given a new look and identity. She crosses paths with Dr. Fisher's son Max (who is also on the run) and helps him. But she doesn't reveal who she is, since he's been led to believe that she killed his father - leading of course to inevitable misunderstandings and angst later, once they have grown to care for each other.

There are captures and escapes and complications caused by another rebel movement, a much more violent one. Jenna changes her identity twice more. She eventually recovers lost memories, and along the way, she meets her true mother and clears the air with Max. What I liked best about this book were the frequent insertions of ACID newspaper reports, giving the official version of events. Otherwise it's a decent dystopian read, though rather weak on plot.

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