Series: Linked #1
Genres: Science Fiction, YA Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on June 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Julia
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.
One of the biggest problems with any thriller set in a futuristic utopia is how the main character will be able to slip through the cracks. When everything is automated, when everyone is organized, where are the fringes that accommodate those on the run? When Elissa's "illness" is revealed to be something more terrible than she ever imagined, the scope of this story expands from "teenage suburbia" to "the galaxy", and it wasn't until that change kicked in that I was really on board.
Elissa's sheltered perspective made a lot of the mechanics in the opening chapters a bit of a stretch for me, but luckily Howson doesn't spend too much time belaboring the "spy craft" of how Lissa and her twin manage their escape. Some hurried assistance from Lissa's father, helpful obliviousness on the part of a friend, and then the story blasts off. For some reason "space opera" is more believable than "futuristic, teen caper", and my interest in LINKED took a marked uptick. And up and up and up... the relationship between Lissa and Lin, which starts out pretty juvenile, addresses head on the social differences and scars of their separate upbringings. Despite their magical connection, Lissa and Lin have independent personalities that are never stifled or homogenized. Howson did a good job taking these very YA heroines and making them interesting (without making them any less appropriate for young readers).
Though this book started out a bit slow for me, I really enjoyed the intriguing and climactic finish. I did not expect the revelation that explains Lin's horrible past, nor did I expect the positive future it made possible for the sisters. I finished LINKED excited for their future, and interested in the social and personal fallout sure to result from their actions. LINKED is completely satisfying as a stand alone, but I would love the chance to see more of these characters and their world in SHATTERED.