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ACID
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"Jenna Strong is a futuristic Jason Bourne."--Justine MagazineFans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent...
"Jenna Strong is a futuristic Jason Bourne."--Justine MagazineFans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent...
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  • "Jenna Strong is a futuristic Jason Bourne."--Justine Magazine

    Fans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander.


    The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong's world, ACID--the most brutal controlling police force in history--rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed--or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna's violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They've taken her life, her freedom, and her memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn't know who to trust?

    Winner of the North East Teenage Book Award

    "Great suspense . . . excellent characters and gripping action."--TheGuardian.com

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • Chapter 1

    Mileway Maximum Security Prison, Outer London

    12 April 2113

    The first time I notice the new inmate is when we're all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He's standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.

    His blond hair is cropped close and the white T-shirt straining across his gut is crisp and fresh; he must have arrived in the night. When his gaze lands on me, he does a double take, just as I knew he would. Watching him out of the corner of my eye, I can tell what he's thinking as clearly as if he'd said it out loud: A girl? Here? What the hell?

    And then, so quickly I almost miss it, a smile flickers across his lips, his eyes narrowing as his surprise turns to anticipation. A girl. Here. What're the chances?

    I curl my lip into a snarl, half tempted to go over there and introduce him to my fists. What a creep. But what did I expect? At Mileway, I stand out like . . . well, like a seventeen-year-old female in a prison full of men.

    One of the guards, dressed in a black ACID uniform, reaches me. "Strong, Jenna--Prisoner ID 4347X," he intones. I clasp my hands behind my back, gazing straight ahead, feeling Creep's stare drilling into me. "What's she in for?" I hear him ask one of the other guards. The guard doesn't answer, just scans his hip and moves on down the line.

    After the count, breakfast is served: cereal and watery substitute milk. A lot of the food we get here is sub--super-cheap, made out of synthetic protein. Real food isn't worth wasting on criminals. As usual, I eat standing up, leaning against a pillar by the catwalk in front of the cells, one foot tucked up behind me. "This crap gets worse every day," one of the guys at a nearby table grumbles, lifting up his spoon and letting the mushy gray cereal plop back into his bowl. Neil Rennick, ex--Anarchy Regiment, who, ten years ago, blew up an ACID van with fifteen agents inside it, before going on the run. ACID finally caught up with him last year, and a month after his arrival he tried to corner me in my cell, which is how he got the scar that runs from his right eyebrow to the corner of his jaw. I got five weeks in solitary, but it was worth it. Now he leaves me alone, just like everyone else.

    "They're trying to kill us, is what they're trying to do," Rennick says loudly, looking around, trying to gather an audience. "And you know what? They can go--"

    A guard hears him and steps forward. "Watch that mouth of yours, Rennick," he says, jabbing the muzzle of his pulse gun between Rennick's shoulder blades and flipping the charger switch back.

    The gun powers up with a whine. Rennick clenches his jaw, and after a few moments the guard steps away. Every so often, the inmates' hatred will spill over, and they'll riot. It's happened four times since I came here--although I'm not stupid or suicidal enough to have been involved--but at this time of day, everyone's still half asleep. Rennick finishes his cereal in silence. I see Creep staring at him and the guard. Rennick sees too, and gives him the finger.

    When I've eaten my breakfast, I return to my cell. The other inmates have to share theirs with five, sometimes even six other people, but I have mine to myself--the one and only concession the prison have made to my gender. Peering into the square of polished metal riveted to the wall by my bunk, I run my hand over my scalp. Every other day, I shave it with a razor made out of a sharpened plastic spoon which I keep hidden inside a loose section of my bunk frame. It...

About the Author-

  • EMMA PASS has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. ACID was her first novel, and The Fearless is her second. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the Northeast Midlands of England.



Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 13, 2014
    The question dogging Pass’s debut is, “Why?” Why has 17-year-old Jenna Strong an escapee from a maximum-security prison two years after being sentenced to life for murdering her parents? Why is she given an elaborate new identity by mysterious strangers and sent to hide in a squalid ghetto of 2113 London, now a police state? It’s a long time before these basic motivational questions are addressed. Meanwhile, Jenna becomes entangled with the son of the man who broke her out of prison, her cover goes wrong, and she winds up on the run from the agents of ACID—the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense—the new masters of England. It’s a standard totalitarian dystopia fraught with the usual perils for a protagonist living outside the rules, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not particularly twisty or intriguing, either, and with no apparent rationale for the action, the book relies on readers’ genre expectations to carry the plot until some of the questions begin to be framed. Ages 14–up. Agent: Carolyn Whitaker, London Independent Books.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2014
    A teenage fugitive unravels the truth about her past while dismantling a dystopian police state. Imprisoned for the murder of her parents by the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense, 17-year-old Jenna Strong hones her fighting skills under the tutelage of the prison medic, Dr. Fisher. Just as an altercation with an inmate lands her in the infirmary, a riot breaks out, and Jenna finds herself at the center of a covert rescue mission that ends with her escape and Dr. Fisher's death. Jenna's rescuers give her a new identity, but it isn't long before she finds herself in the cross hairs of ACID again as Max Fisher, the son of her old friend, runs into her not long before her cover is blown. The first-person narrative revs up quickly but slows considerably halfway through the book when Jenna is forced to make a critical and unpleasant decision. Pass draws an uneven portrait of a traumatized heroine; Jenna never regains the steeliness she had in prison after she's reintroduced into society. She falls easily for Max, a wooden character happy to remain mostly in her shadow. Devoted fans of the genre may find intrigue in a walled-off future United Kingdom but will wish for a more dynamic heroine to deliver its revolution. A dutiful dystopia that never delves below its shallow surface. (Dystopian romance. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2014

    Gr 9 Up-Jenna Strong has been broken out of prison by a mysterious group fighting against ACID, the totalitarian government ruling Britain in 2113. Although she was imprisoned for the murder of her parents, she hardly remembers the night it happened. Now she's on the run, trying to stay under ACID's radar as she reclaims her memories, her identity, and her life. While ACID begins with a compelling premise and a protagonist who is strong and strongly characterized, it quickly weakens. Three times in the book, Jenna is assigned a new identity, sometimes accompanied by new memories. In each instance, the story is essentially reset, disrupting the pacing, dissipating any tension, and setting Jenna off in a new direction. The plot relies too much on coincidence, making it feel that Jenna's story is happening to her rather than because of her. Jenna's love for Max, the son of the man who died rescuing her, further weakens the protagonist and plot. It clouds her judgment, making her take selfish risks that the cold, calculating Jenna readers meet in prison would never take. There's no explanation for why she loves him, only that she "feel[s] an inexplicable pull towards him, a rush of intense love...." ACID's premise will draw in plenty of readers, but it fails to deliver much substance or satisfaction. Strictly for dystopian completionists-there's better fare to be had in the saturated market for the genre.-Gretchen Kolderup, New York Public Library

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2014
    Grades 9-12 In the year 2113, 17-year-old Jenna Strong is locked away in an all-male prison by ACID (Agency of Crime Investigation and Defense), a brutal totalitarian police force, for a violent crime she cannot remember committing. Once a pampered upper-class teen with a perfect life ahead of her in the vigilantly controlled dystopian society, Jenna, after two years in prison, is tougher than most of the inmates, down to the tattoo on her neck that crudely tells the world just where it can go. After she is unwittingly smuggled out of the prison by a rebel group during a riot, she falls in with them, convinced by their determined leader to help bring the ugly truth about the totalitarian regime to the people. As Jenna joins in the struggle against ACID, she slowly begins to decipher conflicting clues about her own history, which has been more orchestrated than she ever realized. Plot holes detract in this debut novel, but the extremely capable female protagonist drives the story and should attract an appreciative audience.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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