Taken (Taken, book one)
By Erin Bowman
Expected publication April 16, 2013 by HarperTeen
Welcome to Claysoot, where boys disappear on their 18th birthdays. But is that the whole story? Gray Weathersby begins to have some doubts after his brother is Heisted and he finds a mysterious last note from his deceased mother. Can Gray uncover the truth behind the Heist and solve the mysteries of his own life as well?
In general, I'm kind of a sucker for a good hook - all boys disappear when they turn 18? Yup, I'm in. Additionally, I'll give pretty much anything a shot if it sounds even remotely interesting. So I end up with a lot of books on my to-read list that, woefully, I will probably never actually end up reading. However, this one popped up available in egalley form on Edelweiss, so I requested and happily was granted access. This was a quick and fast-paced read - it's been a long time since I've taken the time to just sit down and read and actually finish a book in one sitting, but such was the case with Taken (well, I had read about 60 pages beforehand, but I finished the bulk of it in one sitting). This is not a perfect book - a great deal of the story sounds very familiar. Secret government, powerful person not giving citizens the whole story, hero's past not being exactly what it first appeared, love triangle - you get the idea. However, the book is pretty gripping - even though I've read this story (or something VERY similar before), I want to know what happens next in THIS version. Bowman keeps the action moving in short and exciting chapters, though this was another book where the passage of time seemed weird (one day could take a whole chapter while a few months might pass in one sentence). The love triangle was incredibly predictable, but I liked the angle added by the societal constructs Bowman has set up (in Claysoot, young people are Slated to each other - monogamy does not exist and teen pregnancy is encouraged to keep increasing the population, especially as young males stop existing in the community once they reach adulthood). Gray is a suitably interesting protagonist, despite his ridiculous name. This book will definitely find an audience with teens looking for the next dystopian, touch of romance read.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.