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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new dystopia for the YA market
This is a thrill ride of a book, which hooks the reader quickly and fully delivers on its promise of excitement.

I'm sure some of you who are YA readers are going "I've done the dystopian thing; I'm over it now" but I would urge you to give this one a go. Yes, there are elements which you'll have read before (but I would strongly argue that any story which...
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. B. S. Kemp

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool idea, but not fleshed out enough
ACID starts out strong--with a 17 year old bad girl who can take on fully grown, perverted men, and an epic prison break. I LOVED how Jenna kicked some serious butt and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself. Then things immediately get moving with a prison break and Jenna is whisked away by mysterious "good samaritans". The author feeds us some sneak peaks of what is to...
Published 16 months ago by Ashley Evans


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new dystopia for the YA market, 2 Jun 2013
By 
Mrs. B. S. Kemp "Beth Kemp" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
This is a thrill ride of a book, which hooks the reader quickly and fully delivers on its promise of excitement.

I'm sure some of you who are YA readers are going "I've done the dystopian thing; I'm over it now" but I would urge you to give this one a go. Yes, there are elements which you'll have read before (but I would strongly argue that any story which works is constructed using familiar elements) - the main character against the system, dark forces moving against her, mystery and uncertainty about characters' motivations - but it's also tightly written and refreshingly different in some (to me) indefinable way. Perhaps it's in the way it's put together, perhaps it's the UK setting; I'm not sure, but it is an excellent novel, recommended even to the dystopia-weary. Those of you concerned about sameness in YA novels will definitely want to know that Acid is love-triangle-free.

Our protagonist, Jenna, is tough and smart - as the only female prisoner in a high-security facility for murderers, she's had to be. It's clear from the start that the crime which saw her incarcerated here is problematic, but we are drip-fed these details adding to the tension. The story starts on its feet, all action and no pulled punches, and this is the pitch we operate at pretty much throughout. It helps that Emma Pass knows her world intimately and leads us through it effectively. We learn exactly what we need to, precisely when we need to with her perfectly judged world-building. I hate things being over-explained or the dreaded info-dump - there isn't a whiff of that here.

I warmed to Jenna quite quickly and found it easy to be on her side. The swift-moving first person present tense narration helps this along, of course - we're right in her perspective, so can't help but understand how she sees things. There are points in the story where things are clearer to the reader than they are to Jenna, which further adds to the tension as those twists and turns keep coming. She's established quickly as someone to admire and not as a victim, holding her own against male inmates.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this one as a pacy, tense read which is extremely difficult to put down.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Justice and Finding Yourself, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
ACID is the rare true dystopian novel where the heroine is kickass and takes orders from no one. From the very first chapter, it's clear that Jenna Strong is the very center of a web of lies, whose repercussions reach much farther than the life of one girl. Emma Pass takes readers down a twisty path of discovery, each turn more horrifying - and illuminating - than the last.

Jenna Strong was a refreshing change of voice from typical YA - she was one hundred percent sure of herself (except when she was around Max, at which point she was only 99.9% sure of herself.) Sometimes, she didn't know what was true, what her goals were, or even what she wanted, but she knew that protecting herself and sticking with those who needed her was the ultimate goal, deserving of all the fight she had in her. And that fight was a LOT.

I loved that Jenna herself was an unreliable narrator, not knowing her true identity for part of the book or the bigger system at work for most it. Despite that, her instincts of self-preservation never waned. Emma Pass's creation of a character who could be broken and shifted and changed again and again yet still maintain that essential kernal of personality was incredible.

But, in the end, this is the story of a girl learning to trust and love others enough that she stays behind to fight for them. The true heart of ACID is not Jenna breaking ribs of grown men and making them sob (which she does frequently,) or in toppling the stunningly-drawn Orwellian dystopia. It's discovering that, though her well-being and freedom should be her first priority, working as a team, standing up for the defenseless, and letting herself love others is just as important.

Though ACID is not available in the US yet, Amazon.co.uk was happy to send me a copy, for not much more than a paperback in the US. But, should you decide to hold off on reading until it's released in the US (sometime in January, I think), rest assured that it will be well worth the wait.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Debut, 3 Jun 2013
By 
MC Rogerson "MCR" (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
Unputdownable is an overused word, but in this case it's true. As soon as I opened the first page, I couldn't stop reading ACID. It has all the hallmarks of a great thriller - a feisty heroine, non-stop action and a dark conspiracy at its centre. Set in a near-future UK that's scarily realistic, the story follows 16-year-old Jenna Strong as she tries to stay one step ahead of the law, and in doing so, learns the truth about the government - and herself. Anyone who appreciates a truly kick-ass MC and can handle nail-biting tension will love this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool idea, but not fleshed out enough, 6 May 2013
By 
Ashley Evans (California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
ACID starts out strong--with a 17 year old bad girl who can take on fully grown, perverted men, and an epic prison break. I LOVED how Jenna kicked some serious butt and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself. Then things immediately get moving with a prison break and Jenna is whisked away by mysterious "good samaritans". The author feeds us some sneak peaks of what is to come, and promises us information and background story! ....which we don't get until about 250 pages later.

The problem with ACID is that the questions just kept building and building, until we finally got answers 150 pages from the end, but at that point I had already guessed all the answers anyway. I hate it when you don't have that moment of clarity and understanding along with the main character. I hate it when the main character has to catch up to you. I knew the answers (or at least strongly suspected), but then she found out hundreds of pages later and was like OH MY GOD! And I was like "Way ahead of you, girlie."

So, in the beginning we get fed our questions, but before we get the answers we are treated to: a long "prisoners on the run" sequence, a half-developed love interest, and an entirely useless 75 pages of "My memory has been wiped" before the grand finale. (You could have cut out those 75 pages and still understood the book completely.)

There were a lot of interesting ideas in ACID but they don't get as fleshed out as I would have liked. Overall we're left with a pretty vague sense of the future and what London is like, and we have ZERO sense of what the rest of the world is like (what's going on with the US or the rest of Europe?). However, there are a few cool snippets in the book that I did really like, including news articles, transcripts between ACID agents, and letters. They were an interesting and different way of presenting information, even if they did feel a bit random at times.

But so many of the events in ACID just felt random and strung together, rather than seamlessly intertwined.

If I had to compare ACID to another book, I would pick Delirium by Lauren Oliver or Matched by Ally Condie. ACID has a very similar vibe, with a futuristic world, a corrupt government, government-sponsored matchmaking, and completely controlled lives (you get told when you can have a baby, what job you will have, etc.). And then we have the rebellion aspect.

Ultimately, ACID ended up being only okay. So many parts of it felt half developed, unnecessary, or just waned entirely (like Jenna's badassness). Other than the beginning--which I thought was awesome--I didn't particularly love any part of this book... although I didn't particularly hate any parts either. It was just.. 'meh'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and a great read, 8 May 2013
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
Acid was a breath of fresh air. I had been bemoaning the quality of dystopian YA fiction released recently and if it wasn't for Dan Well's Partials series, I would have given up on buying it so I was hoping Acid would deliver and for the most part it did.
Jenna Strong is kick-ass. A 17 year old girl accused of murdering her parents, she is sent to the toughest and scariest all-male prison in Britain after being tried and convicted as an adult. She learns pretty quickly to defend herself against the many pervs wanting to take advantage and has moulded herself into one deadly weapon. When her only friend in the prison risks his life to break her out, she must uncover the secrets from her past in order to survive.
I loved the setting of Acid, it was refreshing to read about a murky, harsh, future in Britain rather than America. For me it made things seem more "real" as I could recognise place names and had walked down the same streets that Jenna walked. The A(gency) C(rime) I(nvestigation) D(efence) police state really reminded me of a late 90′s show called "Dark Angel" starring Jessica Alba. The brutal tactics, laws and sectors of the IRB (Independent Republic of Britain) were frightening and Pass did a good job of unveiling a totalitarian corrupt world where people who step out of line are brutally put back in place. Everything is regulated down to choice of "Life-Partner", when a child can be born and what job they can have. Overall I thought the world building was quite strong, I would have liked a little more but in comparison to recent rival books it was great. Pass uses newspaper articles and bulletins to give the reader an overview of how the world is run and I thought this was a really interesting and unique way to get the point across.
Jenna was a great MC that I couldn't help but root for. She was brave, loyal and sympathetic. At times I grew frustrated by how willing she was to go with the flow and accept her surroundings but I assume that was due to her background which is explained in the book. I loved the character of Max, with whom Jenna builds a friendship with whilst on the run and the other secondary characters whilst we didn't get to know them as well I thought were well rounded and interesting.
Plot wise: I thought the story was really unique and original however about two-thirds of the way through it proved problematic as the reader is immediately aware of a plot twist for the character where her memory is affected which holds no suspense as we always know she will get her memory back. The use of re-constructive surgery was also a bit irksome for me as the tech seemed a little too unbelievably advanced despite the futuristic setting and it seemed a little too "convenient" to move the plot along. I thought the writing was superb I just felt that at times the plot was too rushed and I would have enjoyed more explanation into how the society came about and more mention of the outside world.
Overall, I thought Acid was edgy, fun and un-put-down-able at times and I'm excited to read more from this début author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down, 25 April 2013
By 
phoenixsong (chesterfield,Derbyshire uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
Just been to launch,thought i'd read a few chapters before bed,finished chapter 11 didn't want to stop reading.this book takes no prisoners it draws you in.BRILLIANT FIRST NOVEL,
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You'll need a block and tackle to suspend the disbelief on this one, 27 Aug 2013
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
This isn't the sort of book I would normally read, but on the train up to Leeds last Friday night, someone had left a mint copy on my table. They didn't come back for it, so I thought I would give it a go.

Regrettably, I had problems from the outset. The book begins with seventeen-year-old heroine Jenna as the sole female inmate (why?) of a future prison, jailed for the murder of her parents. As the story opens she's been in there two years, but has learned to look after herself. Well, I'm sorry, but no. No. When I was at school there were certainly a few girls in the fourth and fifth years who were pretty hard nuts compared with their classmates but the idea that as the sole female in a prison, with a gym, entirely populated by frustrated male prisoners, they could have hung on to their virtue for five minutes, let alone two years, is beyond the realms of plausibility.

Anyhow. Jenna is soon busted out by a mysterious guerrilla organisation and given surgery to make her look like, basically, Jennifer Lawrence, and we learn that we are in a dystopian future Britain, which was kicked out of Europe for going bankrupt. Well, as luck would have it, I'm actually off to a bankrupt country (Greece) in a couple of weeks' time for my holidays. So let's see whether Europe has, in fact, kicked them out. What do you think, eh, readers?

By the time it got to Jenna doing 200 press ups "to relax" it was really too much. Let's face it, I don't think I am the target audience for this book. It's had plenty of 5 star reviews, however, so you may love it. If you are one of the 5 star reviewers, and you lost your treasured copy of ACID on the 20.35 out of Kings Cross on Friday night, please leave your contact details in the comments, and I'll be happy to let you have it back.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great debut!, 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Acid (Library Binding)
Wow! This debut novel by Emma Pass is a gripping thrill-ride, a dystopian set in a future Britain ruled by a terrifying, Orwellian controlling police force, ACID. Jenna Strong is serving life imprisonment for murdering her parents when a mysterious rebel group break her out of jail. A kickass heroine and scarily realistic world-building make this one of the best dystopians I’ve read for a while – and the fast-paced action kept me turning the pages until the end. A great read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best UKYA novel I've read, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: ACID (Kindle Edition)
In fact, one of the best YA novels I've read in some time, period. The opening is polished and delivers just the right amount of information so that you can put everything in context, but packs in high drama and excitement - literally grabbing you by the shoulders and propelling you into a great near-future SF story. It's refreshing to read something so well written. I almost wish I could erase my memory and enjoy it all over again, for the first time. No doubt I'll re-read it in the future and find even more to love about the style, story and brilliant writing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So-so YA dystopia, 21 May 2014
This review is from: ACID (Paperback)
It’s the year 2113. After years of financial crises drove Britain to the point of collapse, ACID (the police force) took over, taking Britain out of the EU and closing it off from the rest of the world. 17-year-old Jenna Strong’s parents were part of the elite and she enjoyed a privileged life in London right up until she accidentally killed them. For the last two years she’s been in Mileway Maximum Security Prison but during a prison riot, she discovers that the prison doctor is part of a group willing to do anything to get her out – even if it means sacrificing themselves.

Now on the run, she wants to know what the group has planned for her. But answers are slow in coming and there’s danger on all sides, not least from the prison doctor’s son – who’s been convinced by ACID propaganda that Jenna killed his father during her escape …

Emma Pass’s YA dystopian novel is a so-so affair that takes the elements common to the genre (a kick-ass female main character, obligatory romance and brutal, totalitarian regime) but doesn’t really do anything new with them. It’s very much a book about identity and Jenna has three of them in the course of this book, which actually made it difficult for me to empathise with her. This is compounded by her actions in the final quarter of the book, which are supposed to be noble but are actually driven by selfishness and stupidity. I also found the romance unconvincing, mainly because Max is underdeveloped and he and Jenna don’t really have any conversations to justify the relationship. There are some interesting ideas in the book – I particularly liked the creepy Jacob and his group of anarchists but the plot line is over too quickly without really exploring the implications. Ultimately it’s an okay read and I kept turning the pages but while there’s potential for a sequel here, I wouldn’t rush to read it (although I would read Pass’s other work).

Given that the book is named after the police force, I wanted to discover more about how they and the totalitarian regime operated. Unfortunately, the regime is broad brushstrokes at best and the main two-dimensional and I actually kinda wished that the plot had been spread over more than one book to give the world building more room to breathe.
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ACID
ACID by Emma Pass (Paperback - 25 April 2013)
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