by Margaret Chatwin
Full on tears as I finished this book…at work no less. I am a freaking mess, runny nose, drippy eyes, ugh! This book pitbulled me at the beginning. It grabbed me by the throat and shook me around forcing me to read, read, read. Then it slowed down, the pitbull relaxed its jaws magically and I could read at my own pace. At the end, it stood there growling at me, scaring me to death because it had a crazy look in its eye. Someone was going to die and I was a big fat chicken and took my time to get there. I finished finally, just now. I read the last few pages and am now a so in love with this mean old book I can’t stand it. I won this ebook from Today in Shenaya and really enjoyed the Pledged characters interview with the 101 characters. Click here to check it out.
101 is a YA, sort of dystopian book about a government where there is no mercy, no light sentences, only super harsh “justice”. Any and all infractions of the law are treated the same. You are thrown in a township surrounded by electrified fences and men with guns in the middle of nowhere to serve your time. I guess a lighter crime just gives you less time in the township. You live with other criminals. The government doesn’t much care if you are killed, it just means you are out of the system. Anyone who kills anyone is killed themselves, problem solved! Less criminals to deal with.
Trigg and his sister Ren are thrown in township 101 when they are caught escaping their abusive father in his car and are convicted for car theft. They are immediately separated and Trigg spends a lot of time trying to find Ren. That is when the pitbull let me breathe a little. This becomes a jail story. You find out the hierarchy, who is really ruling things around there and Trigg learns, eventually, to fight back. His father’s abuse caused Trigg to just take the beatings so his sister would stay out of the bullseye. To survive in 101, he needs to learn how to fight. There is graffiti on the house next to his, Kill or be Killed and it is true in the township. Trigg learns how to be a survivor, a leader and a man. Sometimes being a pacifist isn’t enough, your non-action will doom you, while an offensive might just work. You have to fight for what you believe in and those you love to elicit change.
This was a harsh book, with violence and killings and rape, luckily we are told about, not shown the rape. But it also includes love, friendship and affection. The characters are excellently drawn and I enjoyed both the good ones and the bad ones quite a bit. The ending culminated and was over quite quickly and a little conveniently, but it works. This book is going to stick with me for a long time. If you like YA and can handle the tough stuff, I encourage you to read it. 4.5 stars.