*I received this book as an eARC from Bloomsbury Spark on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Title: Deliver Me
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Synopsis: One People. One Union. One Future.
Wynne’s entire life is dictated by the Union: the clothes she wears, the books she reads, even the genes she inherited. And like every other girl in the Union, Wynne dreams of being chosen as a Carrier on her 16th birthday—one of the elite selected to carry the future generation within her womb. Wynne and her best friend Odessa are certain they will both make the cut, but when Odessa is chosen and whisked off to a life of privilege, Wynne is left behind to work as an assistant, delivering perfectly planned babies for the Union.
As Odessa slips deeper and deeper into the role of Carrier, Wynne begins to see the Union for what it really is: a society that criminalizes the notion of love, and forbids words like mother and family.
For the first time in her life, Wynne is faced with a choice: submit to the will of the Union, or find a way to escape and save Odessa before she is lost forever.
Review: I read The Handmaid's Tale for my one of my AP English classes in high school, and it's been one of those books that's just stuck with me ever since. It's haunting and terrifying and yet somehow empowering in a strange, convoluted way. I also believe it's one of those books that not enough people have read. So when I saw Deliver Me called "The Handmaid's Tale" for a new generation, I knew I had to read it. And I was not disappointed.
Don't get me wrong - this is NOT The Handmaid's Tale. This book stands entirely on its own, and although it draws heavily from the society of The Handmaid's Tale, this is definitely a little more tame and more approachable for teens. But the punch is still there, and it's still just as terrifying and poignant as the story it's based on. I did like that the women were still allowed to keep their names and their identity (although they are assigned numbers), because I think it helps relate to them more easily even if their world and their lives are nothing like we've experienced in our lifetimes.
I think Wynne was an excellently crafted character, and I'm sorry that this book wasn't longer so we could spend more time with her. She is obedient to the Union even when she's denied the position of Carrier, and only begins to doubt the ideals of and the laws governing the Union because she's placed in a role where she sees the cruelty of forcing women to be Carriers. I'm really glad Tamsin is introduced so that Wynne has someone to talk to, because I don't think she would have gotten to the point she does if she never ended up with a confidante.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the relationships. Friendships are made and lost, and "love" is a concept that's hard for the characters to grasp at first. There are no real romantic relationships, and I think that makes the friendships and rivalries that much more important. Wynne chooses her friends carefully, and keeping those friendships is incredibly important to her. I definitely think there's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.
I would totally recommend this book to fans of The Handmaid's Tale, or fans of dystopian YA books in general. It isn't very long, but it's still packed with character development and world-building. It can stand on its own, but could also be the beginning of an interesting series. It kind of has the same feel as The Giver in that respect, and I think fans of The Giver would also enjoy this book. I'd give it a 4/5!