Splashy One to Watch: RENEGADE by J.A. Souders

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Today is in a Flash Review style because the book doesn't come out until November and I'd like to Spotlight it now for Splash rather than do a full review!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

Every morning mother has the Maids wake me precisely at ten.  Then it's time for a light breakfast followed by a mandatory visit with my therapist.  It's nice to have someone to talk with.

After, I am free to do as I wish until it's time to perform one of the duties Mother has requested of me.  This morning I sit in my garden, quietly doing my cross-stitching.  The garden is so peaceful in the morning, especially when the sea life outside the glass dome passes by. 

The surface could never compare.  Not that I've ever seen the Surface.  It is forbidden, even for me.
Which is fine.  My life is just about perfect.

(Page 1, US e-ARC Edition, out Nov. 2012)

If the cover for RENEGADE isn't enough to draw you in (and why isn't it?  That cover has so much going on and makes a LOT of sense once you read this book!), the fact that it's an underwater dystopian should do the trick.  While the first chapter (hook above) gives a slightly "off" vibe to the way main character Evelyn Winters describes her life, when she eerily repeats herself at the beginning of chapter two right after a disturbing event, it's clear that more is going on than what meets the eye.  Whenever Evelyn steps outside the lines and goes against Mother's wishes, her memory is wiped.  She's being groomed to be Daughter of the People, the Citizens' voice.  When a Surface Dweller, Gavin Hunter, makes his way into Elysium beneath the sea, Evelyn's life changes and everything she thought she knew is shattered.  Desperate for answers and willing to sacrifice to help Gavin escape, even if it means defying Mother and giving up her destined life.

As readers delve further into RENEGADE, the world becomes creepier and more sadistic.  J. A. Souders has created a deliciously terrifying villain in Mother, a dictator who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  The plot builds quickly, shaping into an adrenaline-rushing, fast-paced action novel.  The climax was a lot more violent than I'd been expecting, but fit perfectly into the world of Elysium and showcased the extremes the government has gone to in order to thrive beneath the sea.  While the book ends cleanly, there's room for a return to Souders' world in the future.

Put this one on your TBR list for late 2012!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: J. A. Souders
Release Date: Out Nov. 13, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Received: e-ARC for review


Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. 
Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.