Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm #bookreview #YA #dystopian

In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.

My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.

Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.

Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable—the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.

Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.

Right before he kicks my ass.

Still, there’s something about him—something that says he could be my salvation…or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on. 

I’ve been a fan of dystopian novels for years, and I’m glad they’re making a comeback. With the MC being a fighter, I felt shades of Katniss from the description.

Saying Eve is a strong female protagonist is an understatement. She’s fierce, physically strong, confident, and occasionally independent to a fault. In her world it’s easier to keep your head down, accept your station in life, and not hope for anything more. But Eve isn’t much of a follower and doesn’t necessarily believe everything she’s been told about the world above. She’s also more curious than most cats I’ve met.

There are a number of tropes in this book, but some of them are necessary components for what happens later in the plot. When Wren steps in as the possessive-I’ll-fight-your-battles-for-you boyfriend, Eve lets him know in no uncertain terms she doesn’t need his help. The problem is that sometimes we all need help, but her flaw is not realizing it and refusing to ask for it in certain situations. A beautiful ex-girlfriend who hasn’t quite accepted the breakup is also in the mix, but serves a purpose. I’d hoped for more information about Wren. Hints are dropped about his backstory and a statement is made that I’d have serious questions about if I were Eve, but they weren’t addressed. I have to assume more details will be revealed in the next book.

With an immersive, fast-paced beginning, I was immediately caught up in the story, but there’s a long lack of action in the middle. In the last 20%, the plot moves at a break-neck pace, and those developments bumped up my overall rating.

Escaping Eleven is gritty, violent, and dark, but those aspects fit Eve’s and Wren’s world. It’s an enticing debut, and the next book will absolutely be on my TBR.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I’ll probably be delayed getting to comments. I’m out of town and dealing with iceberg speed Wi-Fi.

10 thoughts on “Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm #bookreview #YA #dystopian

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