Book Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

What if somewhere out there you had a genetic alternate, living their own separate life, just like you are? What if you knew that one day, in order to become a full-fledged member of society, the time would come when you had to hunt down and kill your alternate? What if you spent your whole life training for that moment, knowing that your alternate was doing the same?

What would you do when that moment finally came?

That is the dilemma facing fifteen-year old Wes Graynor in Elsie Chapman’s Dualed.

The world Chapman has created is bleak yet vibrant, foreign yet believable. It feels like a real place inhabited by real people, with all the nuances of a living, breathing city.

The characters are refreshingly real. Wes is a strong person with believable flaws. She’s had a hard life full of loss. She does some questionable things. Yet, I fell in love with her character and was very vested in her well-being. Her self-doubt, fear, and moral dilemma all felt real, and watching her overcome each of these gave the story—and Wes—much depth.

Chapman doesn’t shy away from the moral and ethical implications of the premise. In fact, they are major themes throughout the novel, and they play a large part of Wes’ struggle.

Chapman does a wonderful job of balancing world-building, character development, and action. The tension starts on page one, and doesn’t let up for the duration of the novel.

All told, Dualed has it all. Characters you’ll love, an intriguing story that will stick with you long after you finish the last page, and pulse-pounding action. This is a definite must-read for fans of YA, and luckily for us, the sequel, Divided, is already out.

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