Wednesday, July 16, 2014

5 Star Review & Giveaway - Carrier by Anne Tibbets

Title:  Carrier
SeriesThe Line #1
Author: Anne Tibbets
Genre: Dystopia, New Adult
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Pages: 236
Goodreads Rating: 4.24/5 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (Sexual slavery, some scenes are relatively graphic)

Summary from Goodreads: Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.

A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records and free her forever. But when The Line sniffs out his plan, things get bloody, fast. Naya means more to them than just a chance at fresh faces—her twins are part of the government’s larger plan.

As they hide from government search parties, Ric comes to admire Naya’s quiet strength. And Naya realizes Ric might be a man she can trust. If they make it off the grid, they could build a new life. But first they’ll have to survive the long, vicious reach of The Line.

Carrier is a gritty dystopian that portrays a brutal world where hope is all but impossible to find.  Naya has lived for the past nine years as a sex slave on The Line and sees no way out of her bleak existence. When she finds out that she is pregnant with twins and is being inexplicably released from The Line, she's skeptical, but she is also determined to give her babies a chance at life. But she soon finds that surviving out in the real world isn't easy. When she meets Ric, who offers to help her escape Auberge (the corporation that runs The Line - and basically everything else), she finally has a sense of hope. But unknown to Naya, her and her twins are important to Auberge - and they aren't about to let her go.

What I loved:
  • Naya.  Naya was an incredibly complex character. On the one hand, at the beginning of the book, she seemed to treat her circumstances with a sense of hopeless acceptance. She didn't think that there was any way out of her circumstances besides death - and she sometimes wished that she could welcome death. But, as soon as a bit of hope was introduced into her situation, she turned a corner - suddenly, she was willing to fight.  For herself and for her unborn children. She didn't wallow in bitterness about her circumstances. Instead, she was determined to make things work. Of course, there were times when she doubted - when she wondered if it was all hopeless after all - but she never gave up completely. And she found herself even inspiring others toward perseverance.  
  • The romance.  The romance in this book was definitely slow-burning, but that was just how it should be. Considering Naya's circumstances, anything more would have seemed out of place. Ric and Naya were thrown together in some pretty intense circumstances, so the fact that they were drawn to each other was believable, but Naya also had a lot of baggage to overcome. I thought that Tibbets handled the relationship realistically.
  • The secondary characters.  I loved so many of the secondary characters in this book! Evie, the little girl who Naya helps when she is abandoned by her mother. Sonya, a former Line member who is now helping the resistance. Tym, a sometimes wise-mouthed computer hacker. Peni, Naya's good-hearted, optimistic friend from The Line. And Shirel, a tough lady who Naya meets at the boarding house - she actually made me cry at the end of the book!  Each of these characters (and there were more!) were three-dimensional and added life to a book that could have been completely depressing. I grew almost as attached to the secondary characters as I did to Naya.
  • The high stakes.  Talk about high stakes! The characters in this book are fighting against an organization with complete control over their world. The danger was high - and not everyone escaped with their lives!
  • Real-life dystopia.  One of the biggest things that struck me about this book was actually the Author's Note at the end. I know this seems crazy, but it was there that I read Tibbets' reasoning for including the somewhat graphic sex slavery scenes (see my note below) and where she talked about the realities of sex slavery and an organization called International Justice Mission (which is a fantastic organization - I hope many of her readers decide to support it).  This author's note just made me take a really hard look at the "dystopia" in Tibbets' book. The fact is, that in many third world countries, this dystopia isn't far off from reality. There really are people out there starving who end up selling their children into slavery because they can't afford to feed them. There are women even in more affluent countries that have been sold into sex slavery. The horror of this book is a reality for many women and girls. And there are places in the world that aren't that far off from the world that Naya lives in. The best dystopians are based firmly in reality, and Tibbets has definitely managed to do that.
The negatives:
  • Graphic scenes.  If you're uncomfortable with scenes depicting sexual assault or sex slavery, this book may not be for you. In some of Naya's flashbacks, we see what happened to her while she was on The Line, including scenes from when she was first sold at just 13 years old. As far as sex scenes go, they're not incredibly explicit, but the experience is definitely described. These scenes aren't pretty, but they're real and I understand why Tibbets felt like they were needed. Still, for some people, this just might be too much.
    Carrier is an intense read, but one that I highly recommend.  This book definitely gets 5/5 stars.

    ***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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    About the Author
    Anne Tibbets is an SCBWI award-winning and Best Selling author. After writing for Children’s television, Anne found her way to young/new adult fiction by following what she loves: books, strong female characters, twisted family dynamics, magic, sword fights, quick moving plots, and ferocious and cuddly animals.

    Along with CARRIER, Anne is also the author of the young adult fantasy novella, THE BEAST CALL and the young adult contemporary, SHUT UP.

    Anne divides her time between writing, her family, and three furry creatures that she secretly believes are plotting her assassination.

    Author Links:
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