“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”
All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.
Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.
Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.
Before it’s too late…
Absolutely bloody brilliant! Just wow! I had read a couple of books that really didn’t float my boat recently so it was awesome to pick up a book that gripped me from the very beginning. We start out by discovering our main protagonist, Drew is being victimised by a gang of girls in school. My heart went out to her straight away as I know exactly how this feels. The whole way through my school years, I was bullied too. It is nice to see a Young Adult book in which the bully actually fights back. I can’t say too much here as I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but there’s a desire to fist punch the air and shout “Yes!” when she does fight back.
Drew is overwhelmed by the apparent task facing her and she does not shy away from it. Once she has the information she needs, she makes an incredibly brace decision that will alter the course of her life and it gets her in to The Academy, where her brother is being held.
Drew’s character is one of great strength. Despite all of the bullying she has to put up with, she never loses her sense of strength and displays her sheer selflessness as she gets herself put into The Academy. There were stages at first where I wanted to give her a bit of a shake and tell her to grow some balls, but that was only in the very early stages of the book.
As the story progresses on, we begin to see exactly what strength, bravery and ingenuity Drew possesses as she is constantly plotting and planning to find a way out.
She forms a touching friendship with one of the girls in her dorm, Mouse (also known as Megan) and their interaction throughout the book just goes to show that lasting friendships can endure through the strangest of circumstances.
The thing about this book that scares me is that I could 100% see this happening to both children and adults who refuse to toe the line. There are shades of 1984 and of the Orwellian future laid out in that book.
The majority of the characters within this book prove themselves to be throughly unlikable sleazy and devious scum bags. Again if I were to say more, I would be chucking out spoilers. There are one or two good characters, one of which will come as a hell of a shock.
I can’t praise this book enough, I really can’t. A well crafted and suspense filled story that shows how we can never be too sure of what we are told…
A five out of five star read!
Be kind to each other.x