From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Alenna Shawcross just turned 16, which means it's time to submit to the Government Personality Profile Test to see if she has (or might some day have) tendencies toward crime or antisocial behavior. Luckily, she isn't worried about passing. Though she's never felt she fits in, she was raised in a government orphanage, and while she is curious about the Prison Island Alpha images she has seen on the government-sanctioned vid screens, she has never exhibited any deviant behavior. Imagine her shock to wake up, bruised and confused, in the undergrowth on Prison Island Alpha. Alenna is drawn into a band of young rebels who don't seem at all like the criminals she expected. Within two days, she's joined the leadership of the Orange Sector, battling the Blue Sector "drones" who worship the Monk, eventually making their way to the Gray sector, which appears to lead to escape. Unfortunately, the backstory and time line don't hang together. Although Alenna can remember watching TV with her cozy family in New Florida, her parents were taken away in the middle of the night when she was 10, and by the time she is 16, Minister Harka has put UNA (encompassing Canada, the U.S., and Mexico) under strict military rule; outlawed cell phones, the Internet, and personal computers; put the population on "thought pills"; and convinced families to let their teens submit to the GPPT. The author has creative moments, but this story of independent teens retreating to the forest with homemade weapons to find young love and resist overbearing government has been told many times in recent years and The Forsaken doesn't have anything to distinguish it from the masses.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
As a child, Alenna became an orphan and a ward of the state after the government branded her parents traitors and made them “disappear.” Years later Alenna fails the test that all 16-year-olds are forced to take that predicts if the teen will become a violent criminal in the future. Teens who fail the exam are sent to the Wheel, a brutal island where the life expectancy of prisoners is less than two years. As Alenna tries to figure out why she was sent to the Wheel, who to trust on the island, and what the Wheel has to do with her parents, she quickly discovers that her biggest obstacle is simply surviving. While there are a few interesting plot twists and a greater focus on friendship than on romance, this derivative debut novel would be best suited for readers new to the dystopian genre. Grades 9-12. --Candice Mack