May 1, 2014
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It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.
The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.
The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.
The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.
But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.
It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:
OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.
In Riot's 2018 Britain, the population is reaching capacity and the authorities can no longer manage. The proposed 'Snip Bill' is their solution. The effort to pass the bill - forced sterilization for those finishing school without a suitable future outlined - is spearheaded by Tia's father.
The bill is only one of the many things Tia and her father fail to see eye to eye on it. While he's working for its passage, she is helping to organize protests against it. But, when those protests stop being the peaceful voices of dissent Tia planned, she is forced to make tough choices.
Just how far is she willing to go to stop the bill - and how far anre they willing to go to pass it?
Riot has a very unique and intriguing premise. The question is if one's ability to have children should be based on socioeconomic status. And whether that decision should be made by the government. Though we get quite a bit of explanation from both sides of the issue, it felt somehow underdeveloped. The characters' emotional reactions to the proposal were very well done and brought a very human element to everything.
Where things never quite connected was with how everything connected. The Bill, Tia, Cobain, the riots, and all of the new things that sprung up as a reaction. It was hard, at times, to really grasp how A affected B and was because of C but not really, D, at least not how you thought.
I loved the characters, though. Tia is a somewhat naive girl who wants to stop the bill (that likely would not even affect her). Yet, it's that naivete, that ignorance, that has her believing the government will listen, that everyone will be okay. She can't imagine the lengths everyone - on both sides - will be willing to go to trying to get their way.
Cobain can. The notorious teen knows it won't be that easy. With his introduction to the story and to Tia's life, we being not only to see a different world than privileged Tia knows, but a growth of her characters as well.
The two characters' interaction, their different lives that have hem bringing such different expectations to everything, make for a great read. Their differences are good for each other and for the story.
Riot is a fast paced read with great characters and a very compelling premise, I plan to read more from author Sarah Mussi.
Other books you may also enjoy: When We Wake by Karen Healey; Legend series by Marie Lu, Numbers series by Rachel Ward
advance digital copy received from publisher, through NetGalley, for honest review