ACID is a kick-ass sci-fi thriller set in a future dystopian England. Jenna Strong (a great protagonist name!) leads the way in this action-packed debut novel about identity, equality, and oppression.
I absolutely loved the premise of this story. The 1984-esque, Orwellian setting of 2113 London is fascinating, and a little bit scary. Jenna's place in it is at a maximum-security prison - not where our female protagonists usually start out in a dystopian novel! In the first third of the book things move quickly, and I really liked the book. However, once Jenna (also known as Mia at this point), gets caught up with a small rebel group the action slows, the plot drags, and I lost interest. The action and mystery and heart-pounding moments turned to bland description, a lot of ""telling"" the plot instead of showing, and a serious lack of feeling between any of the characters.
Jenna's struggle to survive, escape ACID, help her new friend Max, and discover the secrets of a violent rebel group keep the plot moving faster and faster. ACID is a brutal organization that controls all of the IBR - what was once the United Kingdom. I liked how intense and scary ACID was. Their absolute military control, the way their agendas escalated so quickly and threatened to tear Jenna's world right out from under here - they were all-powerful and a great antagonistic group. The small grassroots rebel group, NAR, was a nice, and honestly realistic, contrast to the behemoth ACID. However, the FREE group (can't say anything else cause spoilers!) wasn't nearly developed enough until the very last second. I wanted more from them, I wanted detail, I wanted to feel for them and root for them, and the story simply didn't make that happen.
Jenna's being paired up with Max Fisher is a great twist. They budding romance is sweet and honest. It is also dry, lacking passion, and frankly, a little boring. I wanted more between them. I wanted sparks, I wanted them seeing red and falling for each other. All I got was a couple of awkward moments and longing glances. So, the romance was disappointing.
Overall this was a great debut with a lot of promise, but it fell short in the quality writing department. Less description, more emotion, and a lot of problems with telling instead of showing could really have improved the novel. Regardless, I would recommend it for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, Revolution 19, and other YA sci-fi stories.