Life First


DYSTOPIAN:  Kelsey Reed has been marked to donate, and she's not sure that she wants to go through with the procedure. With the help of Dr. Grant, who was with her mother when she died, and her boyfriend, Luke, a plan is put in place to flee.  But it goes horribly wrong, and the outcome involves more than just her life.


At first glance, R.J. Crayton's novel seems to be a contemporary romance, perhaps even a new adult story.  Suddenly, and without warning, the reader is sucked into the life of a young woman who's being forced into a procedure because of a "Life First" rule:  after a worldwide pandemic, anyone healthy who matches someone unhealthy has no choice but to give up an organ. The concept of laws being made to force you to "willingly" give up a piece of your body is new and enticing. The only (and this is a rather large) downfall is that first person POV has way too much telling, and the reader gets lost in the tangle of Kelsey's thoughts and emotions. The circumstances surrounding her thwarted plans to leave have her physically isolated, so wandering thoughts and random flashbacks work beautifully, but during the times when she's around others, she needs to get out of her head, and into more conversations to show us her world, not tell us. 


A compelling story that ends with a bow, yet is set up to continue with a second book, “Life First” is a new and unique look at dystopia.


Julie York