ACID [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Jenna Strong is a futuristic Jason Bourne."--Justine Magazine

Fans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

 
The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in...
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ACID

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Overview

"Jenna Strong is a futuristic Jason Bourne."--Justine Magazine

Fans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

 
The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They’ve taken her life, her freedom, and her memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

Winner of the North East Teenage Book Award 

"Great suspense . . . excellent characters and gripping action."--TheGuardian.com


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Jenna Strong has been broken out of prison by a mysterious group fighting against ACID, the totalitarian government ruling Britain in 2113. Although she was imprisoned for the murder of her parents, she hardly remembers the night it happened. Now she's on the run, trying to stay under ACID's radar as she reclaims her memories, her identity, and her life. While ACID begins with a compelling premise and a protagonist who is strong and strongly characterized, it quickly weakens. Three times in the book, Jenna is assigned a new identity, sometimes accompanied by new memories. In each instance, the story is essentially reset, disrupting the pacing, dissipating any tension, and setting Jenna off in a new direction. The plot relies too much on coincidence, making it feel that Jenna's story is happening to her rather than because of her. Jenna's love for Max, the son of the man who died rescuing her, further weakens the protagonist and plot. It clouds her judgment, making her take selfish risks that the cold, calculating Jenna readers meet in prison would never take. There's no explanation for why she loves him, only that she "feel[s] an inexplicable pull towards him, a rush of intense love…." ACID's premise will draw in plenty of readers, but it fails to deliver much substance or satisfaction. Strictly for dystopian completionists—there's better fare to be had in the saturated market for the genre.—Gretchen Kolderup, New York Public Library
Publishers Weekly
01/13/2014
The question dogging Pass’s debut is, “Why?” Why has 17-year-old Jenna Strong an escapee from a maximum-security prison two years after being sentenced to life for murdering her parents? Why is she given an elaborate new identity by mysterious strangers and sent to hide in a squalid ghetto of 2113 London, now a police state? It’s a long time before these basic motivational questions are addressed. Meanwhile, Jenna becomes entangled with the son of the man who broke her out of prison, her cover goes wrong, and she winds up on the run from the agents of ACID—the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense—the new masters of England. It’s a standard totalitarian dystopia fraught with the usual perils for a protagonist living outside the rules, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not particularly twisty or intriguing, either, and with no apparent rationale for the action, the book relies on readers’ genre expectations to carry the plot until some of the questions begin to be framed. Ages 14–up. Agent: Carolyn Whitaker, London Independent Books. (Mar.)
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Sherrie Williams
One hundred years in the future, the Independent Republic of Britain is controlled by a brutal police force known as ACID. ACID makes all decisions, including each person’s career, home, and spouse (or LifePartner in ACID parlance.) Teen Jenna Strong has been imprisoned by ACID for killing her parents, but her memories of the crime are hazy. A prison insider working with a resistance group breaks Jenna out of prison, but she is never quite sure who she can trust on the outside. She allies herself at various times with a dangerous group of rebels, Max (the son of the man who helped her escape from prison), and even top leaders of ACID. In her time on the run, Jenna faces constant danger, plastic surgery to change her appearance, and brainwashing (now known by the more polite term of “cognitive realignment”) as she seeks to clear her name and regain her life. This debut novel begins with great promise, introducing a girl who is fearless and tough, a skilled fighter facing down every foe in an otherwise all-male prison. After she escapes, however, and joins a boy who is also on the run, her strong nature diminishes significantly. While the uneven character development can be explained in part by the plot device of cognitive realignment, the actions of the main characters, Jenna and Max, often seem inconsistent. Recommend this title to fans of dystopian fiction, particularly those who enjoyed Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. Reviewer: Sherrie Williams; Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-12
A teenage fugitive unravels the truth about her past while dismantling a dystopian police state. Imprisoned for the murder of her parents by the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense, 17-year-old Jenna Strong hones her fighting skills under the tutelage of the prison medic, Dr. Fisher. Just as an altercation with an inmate lands her in the infirmary, a riot breaks out, and Jenna finds herself at the center of a covert rescue mission that ends with her escape and Dr. Fisher's death. Jenna's rescuers give her a new identity, but it isn't long before she finds herself in the cross hairs of ACID again as Max Fisher, the son of her old friend, runs into her not long before her cover is blown. The first-person narrative revs up quickly but slows considerably halfway through the book when Jenna is forced to make a critical and unpleasant decision. Pass draws an uneven portrait of a traumatized heroine; Jenna never regains the steeliness she had in prison after she's reintroduced into society. She falls easily for Max, a wooden character happy to remain mostly in her shadow. Devoted fans of the genre may find intrigue in a walled-off future United Kingdom but will wish for a more dynamic heroine to deliver its revolution. A dutiful dystopia that never delves below its shallow surface. (Dystopian romance. 14-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385372411
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 40,131
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

EMMA PASS has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. ACID was her first novel, and The Fearless is her second. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the Northeast Midlands of England.




From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Mileway Maximum Security Prison, Outer London

12 April 2113


The first time I notice the new inmate is when we’re all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He’s standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.

His blond hair is cropped close and the white T-shirt straining across his gut is crisp and fresh; he must have arrived in the night. When his gaze lands on me, he does a double take, just as I knew he would. Watching him out of the corner of my eye, I can tell what he’s thinking as clearly as if he’d said it out loud: A girl? Here? What the hell?

And then, so quickly I almost miss it, a smile flickers across his lips, his eyes narrowing as his surprise turns to anticipation. A girl. Here. What’re the chances?

I curl my lip into a snarl, half tempted to go over there and introduce him to my fists. What a creep. But what did I expect? At Mileway, I stand out like . . . well, like a seventeen-year-old female in a prison full of men.

One of the guards, dressed in a black ACID uniform, reaches me. “Strong, Jenna--Prisoner ID 4347X,” he intones. I clasp my hands behind my back, gazing straight ahead, feeling Creep’s stare drilling into me. “What’s she in for?” I hear him ask one of the other guards. The guard doesn’t answer, just scans his hip and moves on down the line.

After the count, breakfast is served: cereal and watery substitute milk. A lot of the food we get here is sub–super-cheap, made out of synthetic protein. Real food isn’t worth wasting on criminals. As usual, I eat standing up, leaning against a pillar by the catwalk in front of the cells, one foot tucked up behind me. “This crap gets worse every day,” one of the guys at a nearby table grumbles, lifting up his spoon and letting the mushy gray cereal plop back into his bowl. Neil Rennick, ex–Anarchy Regiment, who, ten years ago, blew up an ACID van with fifteen agents inside it, before going on the run. ACID finally caught up with him last year, and a month after his arrival he tried to corner me in my cell, which is how he got the scar that runs from his right eyebrow to the corner of his jaw. I got five weeks in solitary, but it was worth it. Now he leaves me alone, just like everyone else.

“They’re trying to kill us, is what they’re trying to do,” Rennick says loudly, looking around, trying to gather an audience. “And you know what? They can go--”

A guard hears him and steps forward. “Watch that mouth of yours, Rennick,” he says, jabbing the muzzle of his pulse gun between Rennick’s shoulder blades and flipping the charger switch back.

The gun powers up with a whine. Rennick clenches his jaw, and after a few moments the guard steps away. Every so often, the inmates’ hatred will spill over, and they’ll riot. It’s happened four times since I came here--although I’m not stupid or suicidal enough to have been involved--but at this time of day, everyone’s still half asleep. Rennick finishes his cereal in silence. I see Creep staring at him and the guard. Rennick sees too, and gives him the finger.

When I’ve eaten my breakfast, I return to my cell. The other inmates have to share theirs with five, sometimes even six other people, but I have mine to myself--the one and only concession the prison have made to my gender. Peering into the square of polished metal riveted to the wall by my bunk, I run my hand over my scalp. Every other day, I shave it with a razor made out of a sharpened plastic spoon which I keep hidden inside a loose section of my bunk frame. It goes better with the scars on my face and the shadows under my eyes than the waist-length, glossy chestnut hair I had two years ago, when I was a privileged Upper girl with her own en suite bathroom, a chauffeur and unlimited access to her father’s bank account who was two years away from being LifePartnered--matched to a partner specially chosen by ACID to be her perfect match, emotionally, intellectually and physically.

I glower at my reflection. Why the hell am I thinking about my parents? I’ve only been up half an hour, and already I’m feeling depressed. I turn away from the mirror and leave my cell to go down to the gym, a gloomy cave in the incarceration tower basement that smells of mold and drains. No one else is down there yet. After some stretches to warm up, I grab a set of weights and do reps until my arms burn, before moving on to the leg press. After that, I switch to the treadmill. As I lose myself in the rhythmic slap of my feet against the worn rubber belt, the gloomy thoughts that drove me down here fade. I count the miles under my breath, my gaze fixed on the holoscreen display in front of me. “One . . . two . . . three . . .”

I step off eight miles later, drenched in sweat and breathing hard. I’m about to pull up the bottom of my T-shirt to wipe my face when I hear a sound behind me. I turn. Creep’s in the doorway, staring. I’m guessing from the way his mouth’s hanging open in amazement that he’s been watching me work out for a while.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” I snap, shouldering past him to go back up to my cell. I can feel him still watching me as I go. Hopefully he’s got a good view of the tattoo on the back of my neck, the one I did myself, awkwardly, using ink from a pen I found in the laundry and a shard of metal, telling him and anyone else who cares to read it where they can go and what they can do with themselves.

By the time I’ve showered and changed, the job lists are up on the holoscreens outside the cells, and I see I’m on kitchen detail. I recognize all the other names on the list except one--6292D Liffey. I feel my heart sink. And when I reach the kitchen, there he is, goggling at me.

Creep.

I ignore him, pulling on an overall and heading over to the other side of the kitchen, where vegetables are piled on one of the battered metal worktops, waiting to be prepared for the evening meal. Creep is sent to operate the dishwashers. I scrub and peel and chop and slice, heaping stuff into the pans on top of the stoves nearby, not letting myself think about anything except the task in front of me. When we get a break for lunch at midday, I line up with the rest, waiting for the guards to hand out the food--dry bread, sub cheese and water, which we eat and drink down in the kitchen to save time.

I’m about to pick up a cup when the guard holding the tray jolts it like he’s about to drop it. Instinctively, I reach out to steady it. The guard nods and hands me a cup. The water in it tastes chalky; I gulp it down in three swallows, trying not to make a face. When I put my cup down, I see Creep staring at me again.

After that, it’s back to food prep: lighting the stoves and fetching trays of gristly meat swimming in brownish, watery blood from one of the vast fridges that line the right-hand side of the kitchen. Usually, I’ve got a strong stomach, but as I start to saw the pieces of meat up with a blunted knife, the coppery stink of the blood steals into my nostrils and I have to swallow hard against a wave of nausea. What animal did this come from? An elephant? I wouldn’t put it past them.

When the meat’s ready, I carry it over to one of the stoves so the inmate stirring the stewpots can tip it in. For the first time, I notice how hot it is--much hotter than it usually gets down here. And the stewing meat smells bad--really bad. A headache starts to pulsate deep inside my skull, turning my stomach sour. As I gulp down another surge of nausea, I realize the skin on my forearms feels sore and tight. Great. I must be coming down with something. But what? I felt fine when I got up this morning.

Dammit, I’m not going to the infirmary. I fetch another tray of meat and carry it over to a worktop between the ventilation shafts and the end of the row of fridges, hoping it’ll be cooler there. Then I turn back, thinking I’ll go and look for a sharper knife and get this stuff cut up a bit faster--although there aren’t any sharp knives in this place, not when most of the inmates are blade-happy psychos.

And I almost collide with Creep.

He grins at me, showing yellow, peglike teeth. “Hello.”

“Get lost,” I tell him. I try to push past him, but he steps in front of me, blocking my way.

“Now, that ain’t nice,” he says.

“I’m not nice,” I say.

“Oh, I think I’ll be the judge of that, don’t you, darlin’?” His gaze slides from my face to my chest--not that there’s much to see--and the tip of his tongue flickers out from between his lips like a snake’s.

“Don’t bother,” I say.

“Don’t bother with what?” His tone’s light, innocent.

“You know what.” At my temples, the headache snarls and pounds. Just deck him! a little voice in my head says. But I don’t want another stretch in solitary. I’ll get dragged in front of the governor, lose my gym privileges. It’s too much hassle.

“I just want to get acquainted, darlin’,” he says. “Must be lonely in here for a young lady like you.” His gaze shifts to my legs, then begins to crawl up them.

“Yeah, and you know what?” I say. “I like it that way.”

“You don’t mean that. Think what a good time we could have, me and you.”

“Believe me, it’ll be anything but good. For you, that is.”

“Really?” he says.

And lunges at me.

I bring my arm up and pivot sideways so that, as Creep tries to grab me, he’s thrown off balance and staggers against the worktop. Before he can recover I spin and kick out, planting my left foot squarely in his stomach. He doubles over with a strangled-sounding oof. Then, as he tries to straighten up and get hold of the edge of the worktop, I lace my hands together and bring them down hard on the back of his neck. He pitches forward onto the floor, catching the tray with his outstretched fingers and showering himself in watery blood and lumps of meat. As he cracks his chin on the tiles at my feet, he gives a yelp of pain that trails off into a whimper.

“I tried to warn you,” I say, my throbbing skin and thumping head momentarily forgotten. “Maybe you’ll listen to me next time, huh?”

I push my foot into his neck to emphasize my point. Coughing, he rolls onto his back, trying to twist away from me. Blood is streaming from his mouth; he must have bitten his tongue when he smashed his chin against the floor.

“What’re you in here for, anyway?” he mumbles thickly, spitting red froth.

“You really wanna know?” I say.

He nods.

I lean down until our faces are so close we could kiss.

“I killed my parents,” I murmur, and watch his eyes go wide.


CHAPTER 2

A guard’s shout jolts me back to reality. I straighten up and look around, wincing as fresh pain stabs through my head.

“What happened?” the guard says, disgust flickering across his face at the sight of the meat and blood sprayed everywhere.

“Fat-arse skidded in some water and fell,” I say.

“Really.” It’s a statement, not a question; clearly, he doesn’t believe me. But I hold his gaze, and he’s the one who looks away first.

“Get up,” he tells Creep, curling his upper lip. Creep just lies there, groaning.

“I said get up.” The guard slams his boot into Creep’s ribs and Creep jackknifes, a sobbing grunt exploding from his lips. I close my eyes, pressing my hand to my forehead, feeling the heat pulsating from beneath my skin. When I open my eyes again, another guard is helping the first drag Creep to his feet so they can haul him to the infirmary. I sag against the worktop, my remaining energy leaving me in a rush.

“Get back to work,” the first guard snarls at me over his shoulder as they leave, but he’s not really paying me any attention. Which is just as well, because I’m not sure I can do anything right now. My nausea’s returned, assaulting me in steady swells. I try to take a deep breath, but the stench from the stewpots coats my tongue and throat. Cold sweat springs out all over my body. My hands are clammy, and even though I still feel hot, I’m racked with shivers. A sharp pain jabs through my stomach. Tearing off my meat- and blood-smeared overall, I run through the kitchen, head down, ignoring the cries of the other inmates and the remaining guards.

But the doors are locked. Of course they’re locked. They wouldn’t want one of us sneaking out of here with anything sharp, would they? I pound on the doors with the flat of one hand, gripping my stomach with the other. “What the hell are you playing at?” a guard barks at me, grabbing my arm, trying to force me to turn round.

“Open the doors!” I snarl at him. “Now!”

Another cramping pain squeezes through me. Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God.

“Have you gone out of your mind?” the guard snaps. “Get back to work!”

“Seriously,” I say through clenched teeth, trying to swallow down the acid rising in my throat. “You need to open these doors.”

“Oh. Do I?” The guard folds his arms. His pulse gun dangles from one hand, his finger curled loosely around the trigger. Behind him, the other inmates are watching us with interest. “Why?”

“Because I’m gonna--”

My stomach spasms. I retch. The guard realizes what’s wrong and his eyes widen. But it’s too late. The acid burns up my throat and I retch again and bend forward, everything I ate for lunch splattering onto the tiles at his feet.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    If you want a book that is unpredictable, action packed, futuris

    If you want a book that is unpredictable, action packed, futuristic fantasy, thriller with a touch of romance, Acid is your book to read. I thought ‘Acid’was great.

    Acid is set in futuristic Britain, where Britain has become an International Republic, ruled by a group called ACID. ACID control everything; the news, transport, the citizens life’s etc.
    Now are Heroin of the story; Jenna Strong.

    Jenna is a girl who actions pack and has the brains to support it but is caring and kind hearted as well. She was such great character to read about, likeable and kick-ass.
    Emma Pass has created characters that are great, interesting and very likeable (expected Cane, God what a bastard). The writing in the book was great; it was easy to understand and grasp the details in the book about the characters, the futuristic Britain.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    AL

    Cool! Rea my idea at rbfp.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Change~ Part one

    ••• I used to be normal. A normal 16 year old who loved everything a normal teenager loves. I used to worry about my nails, and my hair, boys, parties and lots more. Untill i became a caster. Or a witch. Same thing. Heres my story. (I'm not really 16!!)*** "Dad!! Melissa is taking me to the party tonight! Is that okay with you?" I was straightening my hair and smacking my lips to even out the lip gloss. "Sure, honey. Just be back before 12:00! Not a minute late." My dad looked up from the papers he was signing to give me a look that meant 'Your mom will kill you if you come back home late'. "Dad, I'm 16 now. I think i can take care of myself." I wasn't trying to hurt my dads feelings but i clearly did. He frowned a little bit but went back to his usually bright smile. "Alexandra, I'm just worried about you. It seems like just yesterday you were four!" My dad hugged me. "Dad, i'll always be your little girl but you don't have to treat me like one." I slipped out from under his arms and kissed his cheek. "I'll be back tonight." My dad gave me a stern look. "You better be." I gave him a questioning look and grabbed my coat off the coat rack and opened the door, stepping into the cool autumn breeze.••• How is it? Its probably horrible but i tried! Hooray!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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