CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 3. . . .September 22, 2017
Victoria, BC: Orca, October, 2017.
148 pp., pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0723-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1488-2 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1489-9 (epub).
Grades 8-12 / Ages 13-17.
Review by Lacey Crowie.
I shook my head, casually feeding the doctor the backstory Jo and I had created.
“My parents are a fan of the ‘let’s try exercise and a change of diet and see if that helps’ approach. But Counselor Chappet convinced them, and me, that this was worth a shot.”
“Wonderful. Having little previous exposure to other medications makes you an especially good candidate for our treatments. AL28-9, or ALLY, as we affectionately call it, because it will be your ally in defeating your anxiety, has been successful for 97 percent of our drug-trial participants.”
Ah, so it was a drug trial, and obviously floating under the radar. Too bad the kids who’d signed up had had the misfortune to trust the adults around them. Like our school counselor, who was supposed to be looking out for them, not peddling a cure-all that hadn’t been fully investigated.
“Those are very good odds for you.” Millie’s eyes narrowed. “And your parents couldn’t make it today?”
“Nope.” I shrugged. Fielding questions about my parents was another no-brainer. I’d been doing it for years. “Mom said it was time I took some responsibility for myself and my issues. She was just glad the counselor knew of this option for kids like me.”
“That’s fine. We do have a consent form for them to sign, but for now your signature will do.” Millie whisked that form away the moment I’d scrawled my signature at the bottom. I’d barely had time to read the heading, Authorization for Medical Treatment. I watched as the doctor made a show of putting my newly created file, containing the forms I’d just filled out, into a drawer. The doctor’s satisfied smile was chilling.
“There. Now you’re officially one of ours.”
Raven can fend for herself, but it helps to have the support of the rest of Team Retribution – a group of kids who, like her, want to help other kids who have all kinds of problems. This time, Raven has noticed a sudden trend of student deaths linked to anxiety. Through a little bit of detective work and by following her gut, Raven discovers an illegal drug trial to which each student death can be traced. By going undercover, she aims to bring the trial to its end.
Raven is a hardened teenage girl, afraid to allow herself to fall for the one guy she wants to, Emmett, while also afraid to discover why she was left to fend for herself without parents for all these years. She is a likeable character as she fights for those who aren’t able to fight for themselves, and she has a sharp wit that she uses as a distancing mechanism. Readers will wonder, along with Raven, about what happened in her past that has led her to live on her own, in a houseboat, afraid to allow those she loves in.
Infiltrate is a fast read, with easy vocabulary. The plot pacing is fast, with weeks jumping by in order to progress the story. There are portions where I did wonder if Raven might be dreaming, as time skipped forward; however, this does not hinder the story – in fact, it keeps interests piqued, especially for reluctant readers. Furthermore, the story is set in Vancouver, BC, allowing for a look at some of the issues Vancouver currently has regarding homelessness and drug use in the downtown east side.
Infiltrate is a sequel to Graves’ novel Exposed which is also a part of the “Retribution” series. While I have not read Exposed, the novels in the series are meant to allow for reading in any order. I felt there were enough details within Infiltrate to piece together some background to Raven’s experience in Exposed, as well as the other characters’ backstories. However, I did come away from the novel not understanding entirely how the Team Retribution came to exist, and I felt that, while my experience reading Infiltrate was enjoyable, I would recommend readers take up Exposed prior to Infiltrate if they want to fully understand Raven and her background.
In addition to Infiltrate and Exposed, there are currently three other books in the “Retribution” series that focus on stories from the point of view of other members of Team Retribution.
Lacey Crowie works in the School of Business Dean’s office at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently completing her Master’s in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia.
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