Alenna has always felt like an outsider, different in some unexplained way from society until she fails the personality test and is shipped to The Wheel, where even though they all should be mentally unstable or have a predisposition for violence, she finally feels like she fits in.
I know that I could really relate with Alenna, I never quite feel like I fit in, and one day I hope that I find that circle of people where I really do. It comes close with book blogging, and fortunately I have my husband, but I still feel on the edges sometimes. So it really is awesome to watch Alenna come to realize her strengths, and bond with the people around her. She has things to teach Gadya, Rika, David, Liam and the others, and they have things to teach her. Like how to fight, the value of being kind, that things aren't always what they seem and to never give up.
This is a gritty and suspenseful novel, and Lisa really nailed the dystopian category. The government is corrupt and it seems so powerful, but there are cracks. There are groups of rebels and they fight to survive. Lisa wrote her characters where I cared about them, and it was hard to read when something happened for them. I rooted for them and for the best to happen to them, and sometimes it did, and keeping it realistic, sometimes it didn't.
There was a spy in the camp, and I kept switching up my suspicions on who it was. Lisa really had a talent there, making people seem suspicious, and then clearing them in ways that I didn't see coming. David especially. One minute I was warm to him, and believing that he really had Alenna's best interest at heart, and then he would do something to make me think, well... Hmmm... But I didn't even really suspect who they said it was in the end... but I am wondering if it is really that person because of the phrasing.
Lisa Stasse paces the story beautifully. There is always action going on, keeping me on my toes, wondering what will go wrong next, and how they will get themselves out of each sticky situation. She throws me just enough of a bone with the romantic tension, of course leaving me wanting more, and for each question that she answers, I have more that I just know will be revealed in its sweet time.
I flew through this story, staying up til 2am to finish because I couldn't go to sleep without knowing what happened to the characters that I grew so attached to.