Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: The Extraction List by Renee Meland

The Extraction List by Renee N. Meland
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Genre: YA Dystopian

When fifteen-year-old Riley Crane figures out her best friend Olivia is being abused at home, she knows just who to turn to: her mother Claire, writer and spokesperson of President Gray's Parental Morality Law. Under this law, Taskforce Officers remove children from their homes if their parents do not meet certain guidelines, taking them to government-run boarding schools where supervisors rehabilitate them, turning them into productive members of society. Or at least that is how it was supposed to work...

Now, after a government official threatens to make Riley the law's latest victim, Riley and Claire must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer with a tongue as sharp as the knives he carries, to get them out of America alive. Though he slices through men's necks as if they are warm butter, Riley can't seem to keep her cheeks from flushing every time he speaks. But when they stumble upon a deserted boarding school, Riley sees that escaping the country is only part of their problem. Together, Riley and Cain figure out that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation.

As soon as I read the summary for this book, I knew I wanted to read the book.  I love dystopians, and I love the idea of someone's good intentions going wrong and creating something that they never intended to create.  That is the case with Riley's mother.  Acting out of a desire to protect kids, she wrote a law that was meant to save kids in bad parental situations, but as is the case with a lot of well-intentioned ideas, the government took things too far...extracting kids from good families because of small, silly things like unpaid parking tickets or other nonsense.  And then Riley herself, the daughter of the law's creator, suddenly finds herself on the list.

I loved the concept behind this story, and really enjoyed the suspense of their chase to leave town and get Riley to safety by hiring Cain Foley, a young man gifted in getting the extracted and their families out of town and to a safe zone.  The book takes Riley, her mom and quasi boyfriend on the run from beginning to end.  I love quest or journey type books, especially ones like this where there are people chasing and they have to run fast to stay ahead.  Naturally, there were some near misses, some fights, and lots of danger.  This was definitely a fast paced story that kept you reading and very interested.

I liked the characters in this book.  I had a special feeling for Riley's mother because you could clearly see the struggle she's going through to know that, no manner how good her intentions were, she is the cause of all this.  I felt a deep sympathy for her.  I liked Riley as well, but there were times that I had to stop and remind myself that she was 15.  She acted much, much younger through most of the book, to the point where I actually had to flip back to the beginning to find out how old she was because her actions, reactions, and just the way she presented herself was much younger than a fifteen year old girl.

My favorite part of the story was Cain, though.  This was a truly interesting and dynamic character who leaped off the page from the moment you meet him.  He's strong, a fighter (woah, is he a fighter), but sensitive at the same time.  In one moment, he could fight off half a dozen dangerous men, and in the next, he could turn around and show such a depth of sweetness in nature that he was truly compelling.

My favorite part of the story is when Cain begins to teach Riley how to take care of herself.  These parts of the story, the friendship that develops, was very interesting to read.  At this point, Riley begins to show a little more of a grown up version of herself, and I began to like her a lot more.

This book, especially toward the end, was filled with some twists and turns... one I kind of saw coming, the others, however, were shocking.  The author did a very good job with this and it definitely left me wanting to read more.  Although there was no romance in this book, I am really eager to check out book two to find out if something might develop.  The book definitely held my interest, though, and I'll be looking for book two.  A good read with suspense and intrigue.

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