Title: The Surrendered
Author: Case Maynard
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource―the children.
Surrendered at age ten―after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees―Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand―a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination―or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
The Surrendered is an interesting take on the United States and the troubles we are currently in. With election season right around the corner – and quite possibly the most controversial election – Case Maynard presents us with her perspective of what could happen to our country if control is lost. And while I could connect some of the elements of her work with Unwind by Neal Shusterman, her ideas and voice are clearly her own. I found this particularly refreshing in today’s cluttered literary world of similar sounding Dystopian novels.
Vee is a strong female character, and stands apart from those in her genre in the way that she is easier to relate to, and seemingly on her own in terms of family. Since her parents surrendered her because they couldn’t afford the fees anymore, she went to work at a mill with her brother. However, it was then that she became the property of the government, and is forced to try and fight back for her freedom, and the freedom of those around her. I enjoyed Maynard’s take on the element that we all associate with America – freedom – and what terrible things could happen if that freedom were taken away from the majority of the population. I enjoyed watching Vee, and the country, develop as I read along, and I felt quite refreshed once I finished the book. Maynard clearly understood her vision and the logistics necessary when writing such an interesting take on our government and society. Not once in the novel did I feel that it wasn’t realistic, and that is what made it so frightening.
Overall, I feel that this novel is essential for children – and adults – of today to read in terms of understanding what could happen if our country were to break down its morals. Without being too politically stirring, The Surrendered presents us with a nightmarish alternative reality that haunts the reader to the bone – and could be just around from corner from coming true.
*The Surrendered was sent to me by Blaze Publishing to consider for the Go Indie Now! Bibliotherapy Box.
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