Teri Terry’s debut YA novel is an exciting dystopian novel set in the UK. Slated is set in a world where teenagers can be slated, that is have their minds erased and start from scratch again after committing serious crimes. The implications of this are really interesting and I liked the world Terry created. Dystopian novels are usually set in the UK (which is odd considering the success of 1984), one of the other few exceptions I can think of is Gemma Malley’s canon of novels, so Slated felt really fresh and original because of this. In a market saturated in American dystopian YA, this definitely stands out and definitely brings the creepy and disturbing factor back to YA dystopia with its concept.
Slated teenagers have to wear a watch like bracelet – a Levo- which monitors their emotions and can’t be removed for so many years -creepy, right- and if they are unstable, unhappy and drop below a certain number, well.. it’s not good to say the least. Eating chocolate is one way to try and raise your number when it begins to lower, as is exercise and other endorphin giving activities.
When Kyla is slated, something is immediately different. Her motor functions, speech and so on are more advanced than they should be. As she starts her life, she begins to have strange memories and dreams, she is highly artistic and then she finds what could be herself on a missing person’s website. What does it all mean and was she even guilty of a crime before being slated? What is the truth and can Kyla even learn what happened to her when she doesn’t know who she was before? All of this leads to a compelling plot filled with intrigue, rebellion and humanity.
Her immediate settling into life and advanced recovery from Slating could have made her a bit of a Mary-Sue, but I think Terry managed to keep Kyla away from this and she was a strong and compelling narrator.
I really liked that this was a dystopia that felt very dystopian, rather than just being the backdrop to a romance. The hospital, the whole concept of slating and the Britain which Terry evoked were original and brilliant to read. I was really interested in Kyla’s doctor as she was an unusual character and I couldn’t pinpoint her motivations or whether she was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ easily.
I also loved Kyla’s ‘mum’. In YA and children’s literature, it’s important that the child or teenager solves their problems without their family, but it is also great to have the family as a key aspect of that character’s life. I know as a teen, my Mum was a big part of my life and decision making. Seriously, I never would applied for the university I ended up attending if she hadn’t been so certain that I could get in there, and I did!
Overall, Slated was a refreshing dystopian novel that reignited my interest in the genre after over saturation. Terry’s debut is assured and enjoyable and I think a real contender to go up against those American heavyweight dystopian novels.
I received my copy for free from Orchard (Hachette Children’s Books) to review honestly, as I have. Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me this, I really enjoyed it. Slated is available to buy now.