You know those nested Russian matryoshka dolls? You open up one and inside is another, then another, and yet another. That sums up the character of Kayla whom readers first met in Slated by Teri Terry, but it’s in the next book Fractured that we begin to see all the layers of this character. Who is she really? Is she Lucy, the happy child from the Lake District, Kayla the Slated who struggles with memory loss and nightmares, or Rain who has the skills of a terrorist? That is the question Kayla is desperately trying to answer.
To add to the mystery within a mystery are a number of plot twists introducing new characters which for Kayla complicates life even more. She was already wary about whom to trust in Slated, wondering whether her sister Amy and her adoptive mom really care about her? Why hadn’t Dr. Lysander reported the fact that she is starting to remember some of her past? What ultimately happened to Ben?
In Fractured, in addition to the mysterious Nico, other people pop up from her past and recent history. Tori who considered herself to be Ben’s girlfriend, and Katran, someone she knew from the time before she was slated. Then there’s Cam, the friendly new next-door-neighbor who takes away her focus on Ben.
For every stop forward Kayla takes in trying to figure out her past, another secret confronts her. Teri Terry does a great job of describing what it’s like to someone who’s mind is fractured and can almost grasp the truth of her past, but whenever she sees the pieces out of the corner of her eye, they disappear. However, Kayla struggles equally as much with the ultimate question of who she is and what she believes in, not just her name and identity. She has understandable rage toward the Lorders, who Slate teens like her and have created a totalitarian society where people who ask the wrong questions are bundled into black vans and taken away, but do their actions justify the methods of Free UK, the guerilla group who fight the Lorders?
The pacing of this book is intense. In every chapter there is either violence, a piece of the puzzle revealed or a plot twist. Some dystopian and apocalyptic novels fixate too much on physical action and danger, but this book has the right balance of action and heart as Kayla tries to figure out her place in this mixed up world she inhabits, and is surprised by which people really are on her side.