As I mentioned in my Stack Overflow column, dystopian and apocalypse fiction are two of my literary passions. When I first read about Delilah S. Dawson‘s forthcoming young adult book, HIT, I knew I just needed to read it.
In HIT, unlike in most dystopias or apocalypses, it isn’t set after the world-changing event yet. We’re right on the cusp of the world changing. Today, everyone has woken up to some news: the good, the United States of America is out of debt; the bad, the banks have bought up said debt, taken over the government, and dismantled the police force. 9-1-1 just goes to voicemail!
Dawson dives into a scenario that should make everyone nervous: what, exactly, are companies putting in those software license or credit card or loan agreements that we don’t know about, because we just blindly sign or click ‘Accept’?
In the case of HIT, Dawson takes this to the extreme. Valor Savings Bank, now known just as Valor National, has been hiding a clause deep in its legalese fine print that allows it to force creditors to make a choice: pay off their debt immediately, become an indentured assassin, or die.
We open on Patsy Klein, whose mother has just been given the above choice. Except with a twist: Patsy is to become the indentured assassin, or both Patsy and her mother will die. Patsy learns more about her mother, but it doesn’t change Patsy’s determination to save herself and her mother. She agrees to become an assassin, though she quickly finds that the list of people she’s been given are not mere strangers, but somehow connected to her.
The second focal character of the story (and the one I struggled with the most) is Wyatt. In the interest of a spoiler-free review, I’m being intentionally vague about Wyatt. Wyatt initially shows up in Patsy’s life just after she kills her first target. The reason I struggle with Wyatt as a character is because of the way he struggles with his world. It’s obvious that he’s in a tough spot, partly because of Patsy, and it’s obvious that he’s able to manage, also partly because of Patsy.
Yet there are instances where Wyatt becomes inexplicably angry and storms off, without explanation. And he comes back, or Patsy goes to him, and the two of them go on about the business of assassination. In the end, I’m happy to say, Wyatt’s actions are explained and I was able to put to rest my struggle with his character.
Age recommendation: This book is listed for ages fourteen and up (grade 9+), which is accurate in my opinion. As an adult, I loved the book and couldn’t wait to read it. (I even interrupted another book when I received the advance copy, which is an unusual occurrence for me.)