In the middle of the night, a intruders kidnap Luke Ellis, and kill his parents. The operation takes less than 2 minutes. When Luke wakes up he is at the Institute. The room looks just like his own, but there’s no window. Beyond the door of his room, there are other kids, all of whom have been taken to the Institute due to special gifts they have. The group are in Front Half, where tests and experiments are performed on them before they go to Back Half, where nobody wants to go. If they comply with the tests and experiments, they get tokens, if they don’t they get punished. As more and more of Luke’s friends graduate to Back Half, he becomes more determined to escape- something which nobody has ever done.
This book is so different to what I normally read. I was skeptical about it when I started, convinced I wasn’t going to be a fan. I was so wrong. I became ridiculously invested in these kids and what one happen to them. Avery, in particular, had my heart and every experiment and punishment he endured just broke my heart. I was angry reading it, angry at the employees of the Institute and those who ran it for treating the kids this way. For me, this shows how good the book was, that I actually felt what the characters felt and became angry on their behalf. It was a heavy read, and not one which I could have read in one sitting or anything because of the subject matter and the amount of information in it. The ending was great, and finished everything off excellently. For me, the emotion I felt for the book and it’s characters was so rare. Excellently written, and I would highly recommend it. Tough read though, with children being punished in brutal ways.