36 Following

The Hiding Spot

I focus primarily on Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Children's books, but my tastes are eclectic, so I change things up frequently!


Dualed - Elsie Chapman's debut Dualed is one of the best dystopian novels I've read since The Hunger Games and Divergent. For me, it was the action, philosophical elements, and strong female heroine of Dualed that put it in the same league as these successful predecessors. In addition to these elements, Chapman offers readers an entirely new world and society to explore... and attempt to comprehend. In West Grayer's world, every individual has an Alt: a genetic twin. Each twin in raised separately and grows up training to face the other in a fight to the death. Neither knows when they will be pitted against the other or what skills the other might bring to the table. In this forced showdown meant to simulate a "survival of the fittest" scenario, it isn't always clear who should be considered the "fittest." I loved the questions raised by Dualed. It could easily be assumed that the reader would want West to win against her Alt, but things aren't so clearly black and white.West's Alt is very much like and very much unlike her, meaning she's still just a girl. It's difficult for the reader to determine if she has any villainous traits that would help guarantee that West is definitely the one who should survive between the two. There is a scene in which West eavesdrops on her Alt's parents, and they appear to be completely normal people who don't deserve to lose their daughter. With these types of portrayals and scenes, it's hard to pick a side while West and her Alt battle to survive.Another interesting element of the plot is West's involvement with a group of organized criminals who oppose the government. West becomes an hired assassin, available to kill an Alt at a price for an individual for an Alt who feels unable to do it themselves. Highly illegal and dangerous, West and the group's actions called further attention to the idea of which individuals are the "fittest" and most deserving of a future. The government clearly finds physical strength and ability (and any other talents that make for good soldiers and fighters) to be the most desirable and "fit," while having no use for more intellectual or creative skills. In essence, the government is for the death and eventual extermination of those who possess undesirable and unnecessary talents. This is an completely terrifying idea - imagine a world filled only with individuals who possess one type of talent. What a boring and, ultimately, ill-equipped world.Dualed is a fantastic debut that will truly make the reader consider the importance of diversity while entertaining with a fast pace and strong protagonist.