Slip (Slip #1) by David Estes
Genre: YA Dystopia
Release Date: 1 December, 2014
Someone must die before another can be born…
As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.
But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?
And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?
In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.
I have read and loved every single book by David Estes, so when an ARC came up for his newest dystopian, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Slip is a futuristic dystopian where the government uses extreme measures of population control due to the limited livable land left on Earth, and couples who want children need to apply for it. They will receive a “death match” – someone who is likely to die in the near future, freeing up room for a new person. Those who don’t abide by the system become criminals and get killed, and if they evade the government long enough, they become Slips.
Slip explores a relatively simple concept of population control, but thoroughly explores it through the fear and loss of one’s family and survival. The stakes are high for Michael Kelly, the head of Population Control (or Pop Con) who is hiding his illegitimate child and Slip, Benson, and helps him to escape and start a new life. As they hope that no one discovers Benson, and Benson finds out more about his hidden past, they will struggle through tough decisions, attempting to hide and wrought the system and survive in a stringent and terrifying authoritarian world controlled by technology.
“Trust should be natural, not forced. Do not give away your trust so easily, child.” – Janice
The world building was done really well as the concept of Slips and the iron fist of Pop Con is expanded through news articles and public commentary between chapters. Through these articles, you see how the government influences public opinion on what they report on, and how free speech is dampened and people are eliminated for stepping out of line. The futuristic technology used for surveillance and control was fascinating, from the black market wares to change a person’s identity through their retinas, to the holo-ads which would tailor your ads based on your preferences and moods.
I did however, have trouble connecting with the characters where their motivations and actions didn’t quite add up and they were highly complex. You’ve got Benson, the relatively innocent main character who is criminalised simply for being born. He’s pretty much left to fend for himself in any way he can, and he pick pockets to survive. The whole time is conflicted with his past and whether he should tell his friends about it, instead of finding out who he really is. Benson seemed rather linear to me, even though he’s a relatively complicated character. He does fall in love with the fiesty Lucy, who has as many secrets in the past as he does. This is the first time David Estes has used a male lead and I personally think his female characters are well rounded and strong, while the male ones were convoluted.
“The real you is the strong one – the one made from your experiences and challenges, both good and bad. Maybe you’ll never be the same because of what happened to you, but maybe you’re not supposed to be. Maybe you’re better for having survived it.” – Lucy
Michael Kelly was also quite a complex, confusing character. He’s the head of Pop Con, an organisation that does terrible things to control the population and keep them in line. We’re meant to feel sympathetic for this man, as he regrets his actions yet feels he has no choice if he wants to protect his son. The only evil thing we see him do is issue a kill order for a Slip, and the rest he is protecting, saving, and feeling guilty for his actions. We know that he’ll be making these types of decisions in the organisation every day, and I had many questions. How does he continue to torture himself everyday if he’s actually a good man? Is a man behind many deaths to protect one innocent still justified? It was disappointing to see that his influence didn’t end up helping much anyway.
Slip is a mature YA as there are some fairly evil sinister characters and dark scenes. The rogue 2nd in command Corrigan and his half robot soldier The Destroyer, are both twisted, evil villians that you will really hate. While Corrigan is basically a sadistic one-sided character, The Destroyer is a really disturbing, sexual predator and murderer who is a classic psychopath. The book features some pretty dark and disturbing scenes and thoughts from his perspective.
Slip explores a unique concept of controlling a population in a futuristic world, with some highly complex characters and great world building. This is the first time David Estes has written in third person perspective between multiple characters, as well as the first time he’s narrated with male leads. While I found it hard to connect to some of them, I still really enjoyed the unique characters and motivations, especially the insane Janice. Lovers of dystopians will enjoy this unique concept and I look forward to seeing it expanded more in the next book.
Rating: 3.5 out of 4
I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Grip (Slip #2) by David Estes
Genre: YA Dystopia
Release Date: 1 December, 2014
In a tumultuous world of population control, one illegal child has slipped through the cracks. Now, as a teenager, Benson Kelly has escaped certain deaths at the hands of the Department of Population Control, only to find himself the symbol of a rebellion, something he never intended.
While trying to survive one day at a time, Benson seeks to unravel the tangled knot of secrets left behind when his father died, the key to which has something to do with his mother, Janice Kelly, recently escaped from the insane asylum.
As the rebel group known as the Lifers continue to use brute force to send a message to the government, Benson’s twin, Harrison Kelly, seeks to exploit a loophole that could be the key to freedom for his brother. All that’s required is a simple act of murder.
Meanwhile, Population Control’s attack dog, a sadistic cyborg known as The Destroyer, closes in on Benson and his family. His directive: Kill them all.
Faith, family and love will be pushed to the limits in the GRIPping sequel to Slip.
Join 2,400+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes’ official fan group.
David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Slip. These are the prizes you can win:
– Winners choice of book to the value of $15.00 U.S. from The Book Depository
– A signed copy of SLIP plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
– A signed copy of BREW plus bonus swag- U.S. entrants only
– 3 ebook packs with three David Estes ebooks of your choice
– 4 signed packs of bookmarks
You can enter the blitz wide giveaway here:
The book blitz runs from 1 till 5 December, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.