Slated is the kind of book you need to get back to quickly after a break in reading. Teri Terry has thought up a really unpleasant future England, where they slate (mind-wipe) young people. (Except not enough things are sufficiently far removed from what the future looks like today, if we were to allow certain people to get their way.)
Officially it’s those who have committed crimes that need to be rehabilitated. They are neutralised and then sent home to a new set of parents with a new name, and a smile on their lips.
We follow 16-year-old Kyla as she’s released from hospital and see her getting used to ‘normal’ life as a slater. Her father seems nice. Her mother less so. Her new older sister, Amy, is very friendly. After some time her father seems more menacing, while her mother appears friendlier. Amy is mostly smiley.
As for the nurse and the personal helper at school, Kyla doesn’t know what to think. There are new friends to make, and enemies too. There are too many watchful eyes everywhere, and walls might even have ears. This is bad, because Kyla can remember things. She’s not meant to, but she does. Who was she? What crime did she commit?
Slated is a most chilling read about a society that has ways of dealing with delinquents, whether they are slated or terminated (it could be a kindness).
Unfortunately there will be a sequel. It’s unfortunate in that I don’t have all the answers I want yet. You want to believe it’s going to work out, but it’s actually quite hard to feel it will. This book is scarier than it seems at first.
I hope it will set readers thinking critically about what we value. And who gets to decide for us.