This post contains a review and a giveaway
Published Mar 26, 2014 by Allen & Unwin (US readers: this title will be published by Little, Brown in May 2014!)
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars
From the blurb: Abdi Taalib and Tegan Oglietti are adored everywhere they go. Crowds flock to hear the talented teenagers speak and sing. Earth has become overcrowded, polluted, and s fast running out of resources. Abdi and Tegan offer a message of hope- that the Ark project is a second chance, a new world… for those with enough money.
But what the crowds don’t know if that Abdi and Tegan don’t believe a word of the propaganda they’ve been tortured and manipulated into spouting. Once they manage to escape the government’s clasp, they’ll do everything in their power to discover the final shocking secrets of the Ark Project… and find justice for its victims.
While We Run by Karen Healey is the sequel to When We Wake, set in a futuristic version of our world. Abdi and Tegan have been on a two-month tour, enforced by SADU handlers, Diane and Lat. If they don’t play their parts they are punished, or worse, forced to watch the other receive punishment. But things are set to change: decisions must be made and it will be up to them.
I enjoyed When We Wake last year, and reading over my notes made me remember how much. The futuristic world was well thought-out and I adored the Beatles references. While We Run is an excellent sequel filled with action and plenty of plot progression. It also features the perfect amount of back story with Abdi going over previous events during his narration. These recaps were never over-detailed and really helped me remember what had happened to them.
This part of the story is told from Abdi’s perspective and I really enjoyed him as a narrator. We learn more about his family background, his former life in Djibouti, and how his mother coached him from a young age to hide his feelings and read other people, all to be the perfect politician. His time spent with Diane was horrific. He’s undergone psychological and physical torture. His behaviour is enforced by the implant he has in the base of his neck - Tegan has one too. The worst of it was hinted at throughout the story and I knew what was going to be revealed. I thought it was really interesting that the sexual assault in this book focused on a boy, and his shame and confusion was heartbreaking.
Abdi has a lot of feelings to work out and his time in captivity has changed him. He’s filled with rage and despite being happy to see Tegan, he also feels betrayed by her, too. When they meet up with the others, he is happy to see Joph but has little patience for Bethari, based on their interactions at school. I could understand his feelings but it was great to see him work through them over the course of the story.
The plot moves swiftly and there are plenty of scene changes and action. There was a lot going on, plenty of twists and insecurity about who to trust. There’s a lot of attention to detail when it comes to their world, for instance when Abdi sits on a normal chair and realises it doesn't change to suit his body or the extreme weather patterns and alliances between countries. Their world is technologically advanced, more tolerant of beliefs and sexuality, but it’s also cruel, harsh, deceitful, and most importantly it is believable.
I loved the way the story wrapped up, no cliffhanger here. It was clever and satisfying but it also leaves room for a follow up (I have no idea if there is going to be a third book, but I’d be keen for it, if that’s the case.)
Thank you to the wonderful people at Allen & Unwin for my review copy. They've also provided me with a copy to giveaway, and I'm going to give my copy away, too!