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ACID (Anglais) Relié – 11 mars 2014


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CHAPTER 1

Mileway Maximum Security Prison, Outer London

12 April 2113



The first time I notice the new inmate is when we’re all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He’s standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.

His blond hair is cropped close and the white T-shirt straining across his gut is crisp and fresh; he must have arrived in the night. When his gaze lands on me, he does a double take, just as I knew he would. Watching him out of the corner of my eye, I can tell what he’s thinking as clearly as if he’d said it out loud: A girl? Here? What the hell?

And then, so quickly I almost miss it, a smile flickers across his lips, his eyes narrowing as his surprise turns to anticipation. A girl. Here. What’re the chances?

I curl my lip into a snarl, half tempted to go over there and introduce him to my fists. What a creep. But what did I expect? At Mileway, I stand out like . . . well, like a seventeen-year-old female in a prison full of men.

One of the guards, dressed in a black ACID uniform, reaches me. “Strong, Jenna--Prisoner ID 4347X,” he intones. I clasp my hands behind my back, gazing straight ahead, feeling Creep’s stare drilling into me. “What’s she in for?” I hear him ask one of the other guards. The guard doesn’t answer, just scans his hip and moves on down the line.

After the count, breakfast is served: cereal and watery substitute milk. A lot of the food we get here is sub–super-cheap, made out of synthetic protein. Real food isn’t worth wasting on criminals. As usual, I eat standing up, leaning against a pillar by the catwalk in front of the cells, one foot tucked up behind me. “This crap gets worse every day,” one of the guys at a nearby table grumbles, lifting up his spoon and letting the mushy gray cereal plop back into his bowl. Neil Rennick, ex–Anarchy Regiment, who, ten years ago, blew up an ACID van with fifteen agents inside it, before going on the run. ACID finally caught up with him last year, and a month after his arrival he tried to corner me in my cell, which is how he got the scar that runs from his right eyebrow to the corner of his jaw. I got five weeks in solitary, but it was worth it. Now he leaves me alone, just like everyone else.

“They’re trying to kill us, is what they’re trying to do,” Rennick says loudly, looking around, trying to gather an audience. “And you know what? They can go--”

A guard hears him and steps forward. “Watch that mouth of yours, Rennick,” he says, jabbing the muzzle of his pulse gun between Rennick’s shoulder blades and flipping the charger switch back.

The gun powers up with a whine. Rennick clenches his jaw, and after a few moments the guard steps away. Every so often, the inmates’ hatred will spill over, and they’ll riot. It’s happened four times since I came here--although I’m not stupid or suicidal enough to have been involved--but at this time of day, everyone’s still half asleep. Rennick finishes his cereal in silence. I see Creep staring at him and the guard. Rennick sees too, and gives him the finger.

When I’ve eaten my breakfast, I return to my cell. The other inmates have to share theirs with five, sometimes even six other people, but I have mine to myself--the one and only concession the prison have made to my gender. Peering into the square of polished metal riveted to the wall by my bunk, I run my hand over my scalp. Every other day, I shave it with a razor made out of a sharpened plastic spoon which I keep hidden inside a loose section of my bunk frame. It goes better with the scars on my face and the shadows under my eyes than the waist-length, glossy chestnut hair I had two years ago, when I was a privileged Upper girl with her own en suite bathroom, a chauffeur and unlimited access to her father’s bank account who was two years away from being LifePartnered--matched to a partner specially chosen by ACID to be her perfect match, emotionally, intellectually and physically.

I glower at my reflection. Why the hell am I thinking about my parents? I’ve only been up half an hour, and already I’m feeling depressed. I turn away from the mirror and leave my cell to go down to the gym, a gloomy cave in the incarceration tower basement that smells of mold and drains. No one else is down there yet. After some stretches to warm up, I grab a set of weights and do reps until my arms burn, before moving on to the leg press. After that, I switch to the treadmill. As I lose myself in the rhythmic slap of my feet against the worn rubber belt, the gloomy thoughts that drove me down here fade. I count the miles under my breath, my gaze fixed on the holoscreen display in front of me. “One . . . two . . . three . . .”

I step off eight miles later, drenched in sweat and breathing hard. I’m about to pull up the bottom of my T-shirt to wipe my face when I hear a sound behind me. I turn. Creep’s in the doorway, staring. I’m guessing from the way his mouth’s hanging open in amazement that he’s been watching me work out for a while.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” I snap, shouldering past him to go back up to my cell. I can feel him still watching me as I go. Hopefully he’s got a good view of the tattoo on the back of my neck, the one I did myself, awkwardly, using ink from a pen I found in the laundry and a shard of metal, telling him and anyone else who cares to read it where they can go and what they can do with themselves.

By the time I’ve showered and changed, the job lists are up on the holoscreens outside the cells, and I see I’m on kitchen detail. I recognize all the other names on the list except one--6292D Liffey. I feel my heart sink. And when I reach the kitchen, there he is, goggling at me.

Creep.

I ignore him, pulling on an overall and heading over to the other side of the kitchen, where vegetables are piled on one of the battered metal worktops, waiting to be prepared for the evening meal. Creep is sent to operate the dishwashers. I scrub and peel and chop and slice, heaping stuff into the pans on top of the stoves nearby, not letting myself think about anything except the task in front of me. When we get a break for lunch at midday, I line up with the rest, waiting for the guards to hand out the food--dry bread, sub cheese and water, which we eat and drink down in the kitchen to save time.

I’m about to pick up a cup when the guard holding the tray jolts it like he’s about to drop it. Instinctively, I reach out to steady it. The guard nods and hands me a cup. The water in it tastes chalky; I gulp it down in three swallows, trying not to make a face. When I put my cup down, I see Creep staring at me again.

After that, it’s back to food prep: lighting the stoves and fetching trays of gristly meat swimming in brownish, watery blood from one of the vast fridges that line the right-hand side of the kitchen. Usually, I’ve got a strong stomach, but as I start to saw the pieces of meat up with a blunted knife, the coppery stink of the blood steals into my nostrils and I have to swallow hard against a wave of nausea. What animal did this come from? An elephant? I wouldn’t put it past them.

When the meat’s ready, I carry it over to one of the stoves so the inmate stirring the stewpots can tip it in. For the first time, I notice how hot it is--much hotter than it usually gets down here. And the stewing meat smells bad--really bad. A headache starts to pulsate deep inside my skull, turning my stomach sour. As I gulp down another surge of nausea, I realize the skin on my forearms feels sore and tight. Great. I must be coming down with something. But what? I felt fine when I got up this morning.

Dammit, I’m not going to the infirmary. I fetch another tray of meat and carry it over to a worktop between the ventilation shafts and the end of the row of fridges, hoping it’ll be cooler there. Then I turn back, thinking I’ll go and look for a sharper knife and get this stuff cut up a bit faster--although there aren’t any sharp knives in this place, not when most of the inmates are blade-happy psychos.

And I almost collide with Creep.

He grins at me, showing yellow, peglike teeth. “Hello.”

“Get lost,” I tell him. I try to push past him, but he steps in front of me, blocking my way.

“Now, that ain’t nice,” he says.

“I’m not nice,” I say.

“Oh, I think I’ll be the judge of that, don’t you, darlin’?” His gaze slides from my face to my chest--not that there’s much to see--and the tip of his tongue flickers out from between his lips like a snake’s.

“Don’t bother,” I say.

“Don’t bother with what?” His tone’s light, innocent.

“You know what.” At my temples, the headache snarls and pounds. Just deck him! a little voice in my head says. But I don’t want another stretch in solitary. I’ll get dragged in front of the governor, lose my gym privileges. It’s too much hassle.

“I just want to get acquainted, darlin’,” he says. “Must be lonely in here for a young lady like you.” His gaze shifts to my legs, then begins to crawl up them.

“Yeah, and you know what?” I say. “I like it that way.”

“You don’t mean that. Think what a good time we could have, me and you.”

“Believe me, it’ll be anything but good. For you, that is.”

“Really?” he says.

And lunges at me.

I bring my arm up and pivot sideways so that, as Creep tries to grab me, he’s thrown off balance and staggers against the worktop. Before he can recover I spin and kick out, planting my left foot squarely in his stomach. He doubles over with a strangled-sounding oof. Then, as he tries to straighten up and get hold of the edge of the worktop, I lace my hands together and bring them down hard on the back of his neck. He pitches forward onto the floor, catching the tray with his outstretched fingers and showering himself in watery blood and lumps of meat. As he cracks his chin on the tiles at my feet, he gives a yelp of pain that trails off into a whimper.

“I tried to warn you,” I say, my throbbing skin and thumping head momentarily forgotten. “Maybe you’ll listen to me next time, huh?”

I push my foot into his neck to emphasize my point. Coughing, he rolls onto his back, trying to twist away from me. Blood is streaming from his mouth; he must have bitten his tongue when he smashed his chin against the floor.

“What’re you in here for, anyway?” he mumbles thickly, spitting red froth.

“You really wanna know?” I say.

He nods.

I lean down until our faces are so close we could kiss.

“I killed my parents,” I murmur, and watch his eyes go wide.



CHAPTER 2

A guard’s shout jolts me back to reality. I straighten up and look around, wincing as fresh pain stabs through my head.

“What happened?” the guard says, disgust flickering across his face at the sight of the meat and blood sprayed everywhere.

“Fat-arse skidded in some water and fell,” I say.

“Really.” It’s a statement, not a question; clearly, he doesn’t believe me. But I hold his gaze, and he’s the one who looks away first.

“Get up,” he tells Creep, curling his upper lip. Creep just lies there, groaning.

“I said get up.” The guard slams his boot into Creep’s ribs and Creep jackknifes, a sobbing grunt exploding from his lips. I close my eyes, pressing my hand to my forehead, feeling the heat pulsating from beneath my skin. When I open my eyes again, another guard is helping the first drag Creep to his feet so they can haul him to the infirmary. I sag against the worktop, my remaining energy leaving me in a rush.

“Get back to work,” the first guard snarls at me over his shoulder as they leave, but he’s not really paying me any attention. Which is just as well, because I’m not sure I can do anything right now. My nausea’s returned, assaulting me in steady swells. I try to take a deep breath, but the stench from the stewpots coats my tongue and throat. Cold sweat springs out all over my body. My hands are clammy, and even though I still feel hot, I’m racked with shivers. A sharp pain jabs through my stomach. Tearing off my meat- and blood-smeared overall, I run through the kitchen, head down, ignoring the cries of the other inmates and the remaining guards.

But the doors are locked. Of course they’re locked. They wouldn’t want one of us sneaking out of here with anything sharp, would they? I pound on the doors with the flat of one hand, gripping my stomach with the other. “What the hell are you playing at?” a guard barks at me, grabbing my arm, trying to force me to turn round.

“Open the doors!” I snarl at him. “Now!”

Another cramping pain squeezes through me. Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God.

“Have you gone out of your mind?” the guard snaps. “Get back to work!”

“Seriously,” I say through clenched teeth, trying to swallow down the acid rising in my throat. “You need to open these doors.”

“Oh. Do I?” The guard folds his arms. His pulse gun dangles from one hand, his finger curled loosely around the trigger. Behind him, the other inmates are watching us with interest. “Why?”

“Because I’m gonna--”

My stomach spasms. I retch. The guard realizes what’s wrong and his eyes widen. But it’s too late. The acid burns up my throat and I retch again and bend forward, everything I ate for lunch splattering onto the tiles at his feet.

Revue de presse

"There's an exciting and intriguing opening, lots of action, plenty of twists to keep you guessing, a dystopian future and a kick-ass heroine in Jenna Strong. So . . . Katniss Everdeen had better grab her bow, nock another arrow and prepare for a fight. She has a challenger" (Dan Smith, author of The Child Thief)

"In a word, ACID is brilliant . . . They coined the term 'page-turner' specifically for books like this . . . When you come out of a book wishing that you knew the heroine in real life, you know they're someone a bit special. I LOVED it. 10/10" (World of Children's Books)

"Looking for a book with a bad-ass, uber cool and smart female lead? You need to meet Jenna Strong. She won't take any crap and she will kick you down until you can take it no longer . . . This is one brilliant action adventure story . . . written with style and flare" (Eventide Reviews)

"Suspenseful . . . I would recommend this book to anyone" (Guardian Children's Books) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .


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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 53 commentaires
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
How to ruin a heroine in 3 easy steps 12 mai 2014
Par Sandy Kay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Note: I am not in the teen demographic for this book. As an adult, the flaws I see in it may be ones that are overlooked or ignored by a teen reader.

There were two things in this book I really didn't like. The first is the multiple instances of things that didn't make sense, even given the dystopian world in which the story is set. For example, at the beginning of the book, the main character Jenna is the only female (and a teenager at that) in a prison of men. And at one point in the book, Jenna has pain and a wound from removal of a tracking device, but a complete facial plastic surgery at the same time leaves no pain and no marks. The book is full of things like this that strain my ability to suspend disbelief to the point of breaking.

But worst is how Jenna goes from being tough and strong to acting like an idiot and being unable to disarm one guy. And the reason is, of course, instant love. She starts out the book fairly unlikeable, but able to keep herself safe. Then she meets a cute boy and thinks she is in love. Suddenly she not only can't defend herself against one guy but starts making really idiotic and thoughtless decisions.

I don't recommend this book.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thrilling Futuristic YA Novel 12 mars 2014
Par Kayla Beck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I've been reading quite a few futuristic, sci-fi thrillers aimed at the YA audience lately, and ACID - Emma Pass' debut - is probably my favorite of what I've read lately.

There is little that I love more than a strong heroine in a well-constructed world, and Jenna Strong is just that. Her situation in ACID sucks, but she's a survivor. She knows that she belongs in prison for murdering her parents, but that doesn't mean she's willing to be trampled by the other inmates. She works out faithfully and kicks major ass as needed. What I liked most about her is that she questioned everyone, everything, and all motives whenever her situation changed. The one strike against Jenna with me was that she became a little TDTL in the name of love and loyalty toward the end of the novel. I wanted to smack her, but I understand the though behind her actions.

The other characters in ACID didn't really stand out all that much, but I admit that I've been having trouble connecting with secondary characters lately. Max was a decent love interest, but I realized that I had forgotten where he had come from not long after his arrival to the story. Jacob is...interesting... and I'm sure there will be more of him if ACID becomes a series.

The world-building in ACID was based on an intriguing concept. England became a military police state in the future, and ACID controlled everything. There was no free press, marriages were arranged (another common YA trend of late), and your entire life was essentially assigned to you. Anyone who committed a crime by stepping outside of their box (pretty much considered treason) was imprisoned. It was a harsh world, but fascinating.

I read ACID fairly quickly and sneaked away from Life often to follow Jenna's story. I doubt that I'll ever say this again, but I really feel like ACID should have been multiple books. I do love how some YA novels rush quickly through scenes, but I felt that I was missing something at times. Don't get me wrong - I was never confused or at all in the dark. However, I would've enjoyed a little more meat.

Though I had few minor issues with ACID, I very much enjoyed the story. I think futuristic thrillers are the new black for YA in 2014, and you should defnitely check out this addition to the genre.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I finally found a 2013 Debut Author's novel that I enjoyed. :) 21 juin 2013
Par Janus @ The Blair Book Project - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Acid is a story told of a world a hundred years from now. This future world is controlled by the brutal, dictatorial ACID, which stands for Agency for Crime Investigation and Defense. Here, we meet Jenna Strong, the only female inmate in an all-male high security prison for a crime she can barely remember doing. She is given a chance for freedom when a group of rebels decided to break her out of prison. Now, she must learn to fight this oppressive government and eventually learn the truth behind the darkest days of her past.

The plot was very well laid out and I really liked the world building. Also, the fact that although this was a hundred years in the future, the author managed to make the sci-fi terms very simple and easy to settle in.

I also think the news clips, letters, feed updates, etc made excellent side stories and fill-ins between events that occurred in the book. It was a creative note from the usual way of having the protagonist tell the story through his/her point-of-view.

What I admire most was seeing a rebellion against a domineering government try to fight for their rights in a less aggressive way. They would go through the formal process, though it may be a slow progress, even though ACID had the upper hand. It's nice to find a story that shows there are other ways to fight off cruelty without resulting to violence themselves.

There were a few things that bothered me about this book:

First, I think it was a little short on the love story. Although much as I like that Jenna is taking matters into her own hands and she's a whole lot of bad-ass, I wish Max was given a bit more purpose in all this; it would have probably given a bit more foundation to the love interest between them.

Second, I wish the story about Jenna's past was told in a more creative way than a long stretch of conversation between Jenna and her mother. Like I mentioned earlier, I like the news clips, snippets and all, they were very creative so the whole conversation was kind of a letdown. It was not that emotionally attaching as I hoped it would be.

Lastly, [I'm still torn whether this was a flaw or not] the last parts: chasing and action scenes were a bit overpowering. But I still enjoyed it, although maybe my anxiousness got the best of me that everything turned out to be a little too much.

I've always been excited over novels by debut authors. Each year, there would be new authors introduced and I always envision they'd bring about fresh and thrilling stories. I know it's a lot of pressure but it can't be helped. This year is just my second time in joining the YA Debut Author Challenge, and with all the amazing books and authors I've been introduced to in 2012, I was expecting 2013 to top it off.

Sadly, I started off badly with the debut novels I've read this year. I was starting to lose interest and I was already thinking about withdrawing from the challenge. But then, my copy of Acid came in the mail from the Book Depository. So, I thought, "let's see if this would get me to change my mind..." Imagine my relief when I found Acid an enjoyable book to read! So thank you Emma Pass for motivating me to continue on with my DAC.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Yet another solid YA dystopia - the UK disguised as a future North Korea 8 mai 2014
Par Silea - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I admit, there's nothing really remarkable about this novel. It fits comfortably within the YA-future-dystopia-totalitarian government-girl fighting the corruption-etc genre that Hunger Games has made such a fixture. It doesn't really explore any new frontiers, but within the sandbox of its genre, it tells a pretty good story.

Likewise, it's not without its flaws. For example, apparently major facial reconstruction surgery can be completed in a few hours with no visible cuts, stitches, or scars, while removing a small implant in your leg leaves a visible red scar and leaves you limping for days.

Either way, we've got Jenna, who is for reasons unclear apparently the only female ever to be sent to prison. Much as Katniss had to learn to hunt to survive, Jenna had to toughen herself up to make it through each day behind bars. And much as Katniss got sucked into the whole meta-drama of the Hunger Games against her will, Jenna is broken out of prison only to find life vastly more dangerous outside the bars than inside.

With a few raging coincidence to make sure the plot keeps going, the plot does in fact keep going, at a nice pace and with good tension. Characters are a bit one-dimensional (pretty much everyone is an Acid groupie or an Anti-Acid Activist, with no nuance at all), but the world is fleshed out and detailed and a little too believable at times.

As i said above, this isn't a groundbreaking novel, but it does manage to check all the YA-distopia-with-female-protagonist checkboxes while also exploring some more complex ideas about identity and social responsibility. It's a solid read for teens or adults.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Decent dystopian teen fiction 17 avril 2014
Par Dave Schwartz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
I've read enough teen dystopian fiction in the past two years to have a good sense of the genre. ACID is a game addition to the field, with an exceptionally strong and tough teenage girl as the protagonist. She is wronged by, and ultimately seeks to fight, and oppressive fascist regime (is there any other kind?) in a future Independent Republic of Britain.

It's not badly-written or set-up, but some of the elements seem a bit too on-the-nose. For example, naming your ultra-evil fascist organization something like ACID just seems like the kind of thing a fifteen year old would think was cool--this pulled me out of the story more than once.

As far as the plot goes, there's an over-reliance on chance meetings and coincidences that strains credibility. The story goes from set-up to complication to climax to resolution, but it has to rely on a rather large element of happenstance to get there. I would say more, but I don't want to spoil it.

My biggest critique is that the book sets up all kinds of interesting questions about identity, and in my reading at least didn't really answer them. I was disappointed that the protagonist's journey didn't seem to involve a great deal of self-discovery, which is usually a hallmark of this genre. I didn't dislike this book, but I wasn't bowled over by it, either.
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