YA fiction has seen a surge of dystopian novels in recent years, some before and many after the success of The Hunger Games. The Forsaken proudly tells a reader “If you love Hunger Games read this!” So, I did. Here’s what I thought:
By 2032 the world has changed. Government as we know it has failed, and Minister Harka has stepped in to lead the United Northern Alliance, or UNA, out of chaos. Crucially, this means removing from society individuals with genetic patterns that suggest a predisposition for violence or discord. At sixteen, each member of the UNA is tested. If you pass, nothing changes. But if you fail, then for the good of society you are taken away and put on an island halfway between Hawaii and Australia designated Prison Island Alpha. Or, as the Island’s unfortunate inhabitants have dubbed it, The Wheel.
Even though her parents were taken from her as rebels years ago, Alenna Shawcross knew she was a loyal, non-violent member of society, so it never occurred to her that the test might not agree, until she wakes up on the Wheel. She must adapt quickly and navigate the Island’s fragile social structures delicately if she has any hope of surviving. Before long, Alenna and her new allies on the Wheel begin to think of escape – but is that a real option? And if so, how high a cost are they willing to pay? No, Really, What Hunger Games?