Title: Escaping Eleven
Author: Jerri Chisholm
Published: December 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 stars
Cover: Like it
In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.
My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.
Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.
Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable–the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained we forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.
Except my last match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.
Right before he kicks my ass.
Still, there’s something about his–something that says he could be my salvation…or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on.
“Maybe it never really made sense to hate an entire society; maybe it never made sense that all of them up there were evil in the first place. The actions of the few should never speak for the many–this is something I already know” (chapter 28).
Happy book birthday to Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm. Thank you to Entangled Teen and Chisholm for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Chisholm writes a dystopian society that mirrors ones found in The Hunger Games and Divergent, but has enough punch in the storyline to stand on it’s own legs. I was completely captivated, letting dishes pile up and my to-do list go untouched just so that I could find out what would happen next.
Eve is a darker, scarred character. Her life has not been a walk in the park, but really, could that describe anyone’s life in the lower floors of Compound Eleven? In order to help forget about the constant oppression they face every day, many people on the lower floors have taken up a hobby or career in fighting. Eve’s father has been training her to go pro since she was a young girl, but when the time draws near to commit to a career after finishing school, she just can’t force herself. The only thing she wants is to escape and taste freedom.
I liked that Eve grew up hard and constantly has to choose to be hard to deal with the horrors in her life. It gave her more depth to explore throughout the story. When Wren, the elite boy from the top floor, enters her life, she really has to wrestle with whether she should close herself off from people or not. And through her constant preparations to seek freedom, she finds out that she might have put her trust in the wrong person.
Some thing I struggled with is that I really wanted more fleshing out of Wren’s story, who was definitely one of my favorite characters. Eve is pretty single minded, which means that Wren learns way more about her than she learns about him. I hope that we get to hear a lot more about Wren in the next book, since this one ended with a lot of open questions. Actually, some of her friends could’ve used some fleshing out, too. I also found the description of the book misleading to the plot–just little things, like the fact that they don’t actually fight for their food, but more for a hobby, career, or survival tactic. The comment about Wren being the edge she needs to find her freedom isn’t quite true either since she really focuses most of the book on trying to figure it out on her own. Finally, the ending was a little predictable, but it did end in such a way that you’re anxious to know what happens next.
Okay, how do I figure out how to fast forward time so that I can read book two?