Heart-racing blockbuster of a debut.
Tabula Rasa means ""blank slate"" and it is the name of a procedure designed to remove the worst traumatic memories from the minds of people in order to give them a fresh start in life. Sarah is a patient at a medical center in the middle of nowhere - literally, on top of a snowy mountain and surrounded by electrified fences, with no roads that can reach it. The surgeries and treatments that are part of the treatment leave Sarah numb, empty, and feeling ""like she is nothing."" So Sarah really doesn't know much about her surroundings, has a vague sense of time, but she is still pretty curious about things.
However, Sarah doesn't stay this way for long. The power flashes in and out during her supposedly final surgery, and someone slips her a packet of pills - mysterious unmarked pills that she is supposed to take every 24 hours. As soon as she is alone, Sarah takes a pill. Someone is finally trying to help her, and she accepts it without question. It makes sense - she's obviously a reckless girl and acts on impulse. It's exactly what I would have done.
From there, everything is turned upside down. Sarah's memories start returning, the power goes out for good, and the Center is stormed by soldiers. The action does not stop at all for the rest of the book! There is action, suspense, a tinge of romance, there is humor and science fiction and oh, did I mention action?!
Great for fans of movies like The Matrix, Lucy, The Island, and the new James Bond films, TABULA RASA is a spectacular heart-pounding adventure that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. It is a single novel - no sequels or novellas here, which is a refreshing change from the inevitable YA trilogy.
Grades: 8 and up.
Literary Merit: Great.