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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The Hunger Games meets Matched in this thrilling high-concept YA where citizens must prove their worth by defeating the other version of themselves--their twin. Two of you exist. Only one will survive. The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life. Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.…


by Elsie Chapman

Overall Book Review:

Dualed by Elsie Chapman is a dystopian young adult novel narrated in first person by the female protagonist, 15 year old West Grayer.  The basic premise is that the city of Kersh is a haven, but because of limited resources, one must earn their spot by killing a twin.  The weak development of the dystopian world, lack of details, and some flawed basic premises require the reader to go far beyond merely suspending their disbelief; it will just be too much of a leap of credibility for many readers.  Furthermore, at times West’s motivations are thin and inconsistent, and her actions illogical–even for a teenage girl.  It is also hard to cozy-up to a character who is essentially a killer by choice, not compulsion; there is a lot of blood on West’s hands.  On a positive note, the writing is solid, the dialogue is natural, and the pacing is brisk.  A reader who isn’t fussy about plot holes and who loves dystopian literature would probably still enjoy this book.  As with most young adult literature these days, Dualed is the first in a series.  However because of some good closure in the ending, it could easily be read as a stand alone.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 mild obscenities; 5 scatological words; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore:  Several reports of death without details; several reports of death with a few details; discussion about violent training at school and killing; report of war; shots heard with implied death and later a body is seen; extended scene of intense violence involving gun, knife, slit throat with resulting deaths, detailed description and mention of blood; half page description of killing and fighting with some details and mention of blood; discussion about assassins; character is tattooed with some pain; a teenage girl is hunted down and killed with knife and gun shot, some details; a few reports of assassinations, mostly by gunshot, no details; characters train with weapons; removal of bullet, mention of blood; character shoots another character in brief scene, some details; report of death by suicide; characters fight; extended scene of characters fighting to the death involving guns, scissors, knives, with mention of blood and some graphic details; group of tweens and teens pruposefully to go watch a killing of a teen by another teen, brief with some graphic details; assassination with character shot multiple times in the head, blood mentioned.

Note:  Almost all acts of violence are committed by adolescents against other adolescents (ages 11 – 20).  Basic premise of the book is that everyone in the society must kill or be killed.

Sex/Nudity:  Characters kiss a few times; character’s shirt is removed to treat a wound.

Mature Subject Matter:

Death, Death of Family Members, War, Poverty, Murder, Suicide, Contract Killings/Assassinations

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A teenaged character is on drugs and evidence of needles and other paraphernelia is seen.  A drug is given to a character to induce sleep.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!