by Jane Higgins
For decades, the land has been separated into the Southsiders and the Citysiders.
Citysiders are privileged, educated, and have all the supplies they need.
Southsiders are poor, uneducated, and must scavenge to survive.
Nik has been in a Cityside school since he was five, training for the elite squads that work to put down the constant uprisings of the Southsiders.
On Selection Day, however, he's passed up with no explanation. Now he faces a life as an enlisted man.
But Nik's world changes when his school is attacked and destroyed by Southsiders, forcing him and his friends into the arms of the enemy and starting him on a journey to find out who he really is and where he came from.
Final thoughts: The book draws you in and almost forces you to read it, but once you put it down for any reason, picking it back up can be difficult. It's a dark, heavy read with a major message about war and oppression that is repeatedly beaten over the head of the reader. It's easy to miss when you start, but it can't be ignored by the end. There is also some confusion over its dystopian nature. There's nothing really familiar about the setting, which is a series of bridges along a river, though that may be because the author is from New Zealand and so I may just not know the area about which she's writing. There are also repeated references to indoctrination of a Christian-type religion and "fascism" (as it's labeled), which feels like the author has a personal point of view that she really wanted to push to others.