DISCLAIMER: I got this eARC for free from NetGalley.
Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens.
It’s been a while since I checked out NetGalley. Until one day, I randomly found myself on the site and this was one of the titles on the front page. Hey, it was a new year, new reading goals, so I decided to sign up for it.
The blurb says it’s like Orange Is The New Black but I don’t have Netflix (I have Hulu Plus) so I’m not familiar with it. The setting is pretty interesting too. A juvenile correctional facility? Wow, it’s not a place where most YA authors would want to set their stories. And the protagonist of the story is incarcerated for something awful. Such a far cry from the goody-two-shoes kind of perfect high school girl.
Angela was just living her everyday life, as much as she could in jail, keeping her head down and doing her chores. She has 3 months until her release and all she needed to do was to wait it out. Until another inmate join them, Jessica, 10 years old. Dangerous. Jessica was initially sent to Segregation. Angela finds herself connecting with Jessica and eventually, joins her, Issie, and Cara in one cell. With Jessica comes a new team of people seemingly aiming to help the facility as well as educate the girls. But instead of good… strange things began to happen upon Jessica’s arrival.
Monsters are more interesting than heroes.
LOVE that quote. And there is some truth into it. Some heroes are so bland with no personality that it makes it so easy to react to the villain. I’ve read some stories where I don’t care much for the protagonist while either I absolutely hate the antagonist or at least pay attention to him/her more. Case in point, Harry Potter. Harry, to me, was so boring. I connected more to the most minor characters and the villains.
But that wasn’t the case here. I liked Angela. I thought she was a strong character with a good head on her shoulders. She made the most out of the crappy situation that she was in. Her romantic moments felt natural and age-appropriate. Almost shy at times. Jessica is just a sweet little thing. It was hard to have ill feelings towards her. Whether she’s a hero or a monster, I will let you find that out yourself. Either way, she and her situation are very interesting.
Another thing I liked about the author’s character building was it didn’t play the cliche card. Yes, Angela and her friends were in prison for something wrong they did but really, they weren’t bad people. They were actually pretty nice. Scary at times… and of course, once you know what they were in there for but with each other, they’re pretty normal girls with crushes and insecurities.
The build-up was paced well. It really felt like the reader is living each day alongside Angela. Each “day” felt long and full and because of that, the conclusion felt oddly satisfying. I felt like it ended the way it should, where it should. The final scenes were pretty intense and dramatic. The ending was a nice set up for the next book.
Clearly, this is going to be a part of a series. There’s an epilogue and it got me so excited for the sequel… only to realize that this book isn’t even officially released yet. Oh boy, be on the look out for this one when it does.
Rating: 4/5. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book. What’s going to happen to Angela?