Hardcover: 364 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
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.It's UNDERWATER! I really enjoyed the setting in this novel, it's really original, probably the first YA dystopian novel that I've read that takes place in a city underwater and I really liked this idea. Souders surely writes an intriguing and original story that will leave you begging for more, even though the ending is only cliffhanger-ish.
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.
The Plot: The plot goes smoothly and it's a quick read if you have time to read it in one sitting. The world-building really surprised me since I wasn't expecting to enjoy the city-underwater-thing that much. It totally suits the story and the author really developed the setting really well. The story felt a bit calculated to me since every little things leads to this ending and it was a bit predictable. The insta-love was something I really didn't enjoy, it was a bit too fast and felt unrealistic to me.
The Characters: Here the things get a bit complicated. I did enjoy the characters but not that much. Evelyn was a strong and determined character but because of certain experiments done on her, it was difficult to characterize her and identify myself with her. Gavin was the typical perfect YA boy but he was just too perfect! It's not realistic that a boy will discover a city underwater, be treated badly by the people there but will trust the girl blindly and fall in love with her in a day. Mother, the villain, was crazy but I guess, I really did enjoyed this aspect. She was simply mad, no better way to describe her, actually.
Renegade was an enjoyable read and it also brought some original aspects to the young adult genre. It certainly felt a bit too unrealistic and predictable to me but overall, I liked the novel. The ending is very different from the beginning, ending in a very different note. I can't wait to see what Souders will do to these characters and how she will develop the story further.
Huge thanks to Tor Teen for providing me with a copy of Renegade for review!
J.A. Souders lives in Florida with her husband and their two children and is an active member of RWA, DFRW, YARWA, SCBWI, and SFWA. RENEGADE is her first novel. Website / Twitter