Slip is written by David Estes, and is the first book in the Slip Trilogy. It is a fast paced dystopian sci-fi thriller geared for a young adult audience and older.
The book opens up to a view of the now Reorganized United States of American. After natural disasters have changed the landscape of the country and the scare of food shortage has been numerically assessed, the government has determined an exact population number that can be supported by the current country. Procreation can only occur after a birth authorization has been purchased and following the receipt of a death certificate. In short, in order for one to be born, one must first die. Death certificates can be issued for a terminally ill person, but if that person does not die as planned, than a birth cannot occur.
Pop Con, short for Population Control, is the government agency responsible for ensuring the enforcement and regulation of such laws. In the event of unauthorized births/beings or UnBees, they are tasked with tracking down and terminating the unlawful child. Any child that manages to go undetected past their 2nd birthday is henceforth referred to as a “slip” and is deemed a national security threat.
Pop Con is heralded for their ability to terminate unauthorized births before a slip occurs. However, one boy finds himself hidden and protected long past his 2nd birthday. Being raised by a father and a woman who cares for him he finds himself wondering why he cannot be outside with other children as he gets older.
This child without a name in his youth starts to figure out that things aren’t right in his life when events lead to his father injecting his eyes to change his identity as he becomes instead Benson and is sent to swim in hopes of survival sent off to a futuristic St Louis. Benson is left alone and outside of society, having no true knowledge of what is going on. Many questions and theories lead him to suspect that he may in fact be a slip.
In this book we get to know many exhilarating characters to conclude the head of Pop Con, Michael Kelly: a man who must make ruthless determinations, while in constant battle with his conscious. Harrison Kelly, his son who finds hatred in his father for missing so much of his life due to work. Lucy a street savvy friend and romantic interest of Benson’s who fights to protect her little brother. Janice, the wife of Michael Kelly, who went from eccentric to mental break and now lives in a mental institution; constantly hallucinating about things that may or may not have been. Domino Destovan is the sadist you love to hate; his evil endeavors grow throughout the book as well as his thirst for death and acknowledgment.
The first part of the book is told in First Person POV from a young nameless boy and his views in the world. News headlines and blurbs are interjected to keep the reader alert of the state of affairs in the country. Then the book moves on to a more third person POV after the nameless boy becomes Benson. In the initial naming of Benson, I had a little trouble keeping track of the fast paced character change in the story, but once the narratives became more detailed, it was easy to go back to the flow of the book.
Overall I give Slip 5/5 Stars. David Estes can create a world like no other, and his ability to bring it to life is commendable. With a slightly rocky character transition, this levels out enough to not detract from the story. By the time you get over the transition from unnamed boy to Benson, it is practically impossible to step away from as the action is fast paced. It very readily flows into a desire to want to know MORE about what happens next. Although this is a young adult novel, it is definitely on the mature end of the spectrum as there are some themes that may be sensitive to include sexual and physical violence. If you are interested in dystopian, young adult, population control, futuristic, sci-fi, fiction, action, etc., then this book is definitely worth a read.
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Don't forget to also check out my review of David Estes' Fire Country.