My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won’t find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could’ve been better or what worked or didn’t work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it’s here I probably think it won’t injure your brain if you read it.
West Grayer is the last of her family.
In a world where teens have a window of opportunity to kill their Alt – a genetic copy of themselves – she’s lost her brothers and sisters through violence. Even being a complete – someone who has successfully killed their Alt – didn’t save her brother Luc when he went along with their mutual friend Chord for his assignment.
Now Chord is complete, and West is left in a house by herself when she gets the text – she’s now Active… and her Alt is looking for her. Although she’s been training her whole life to be the killer and not the killed, West doesn’t have the confidence she needs to take out her Alt. She joins an underground group to become a Striker – a killer for hire who will eliminate someone else’s Alt for a fee.
Strikers aren’t well-loved, and West’s strikes aren’t the cleanest ever performed. The marks on her palms that distinguish her from the rest of the population of Kersh disgust Chord, who tries to help her see that every strike she accepts is killing time in her window of opportunity, something that her Alt isn’t taking chances on.
West waits for her Alt to come to her – and finds herself face to face with a better version of herself, with colder eyes and a Striker of her own who loves her. West’s bullet misses its mark, and she’s left wondering if life in Kersh is a massive game of survival of the fittest… is she really the one who is supposed to live?
Chapman’s debut is a tour-de-force of a world where everyone is born knowing someone else is out there training to kill them from birth. West’s self-doubt fills her every action and opens up avenues into this complex character that any teen will relate to. DUALED
is available from Random House Books for Young Readers.