Title: Cell 7
Author: Kerry Drewery
Published: September 22nd 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Length: 384 pages
Source: Paperback from the publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV showDeath is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?
I’m always fascinated by dystopian novels that take an aspect of our current reality and change it in a way that is scary and also potentially possible. Cell 7 does just that with the concept of prisoners on death row.
Martha only has seven days left to live if the voting public have their way. She’s already confessed to killing their beloved public idol. But she has a plan brewing in the background and she hopes that she can become the symbol for change. Jackson Paige wasn’t the saint the media painted him to be and she’s willing to sacrifice everything to prove it.
There was so much about this story that completely hooked me in, but I think the first thing was the format. There’s multiple POVs, but the most interesting thing is that it’s not just characters, there’s the counselling and TV show POVs too. I found this formula to work incredibly well in pacing the story and captivating the reader: Martha, Counselling, TV, Martha, etc.
With the TV station rolling out new features to take advantage of having their first ever teenager in death row, Martha’s entire ordeal is broadcast for the world to see. As she struggles to stay sane in the confines of each cell, waiting for the final day, the final cell, and the decision of the public, she tries to come to terms with the fate she has chosen. I found it extremely admirable, what she was trying to accomplish, and seeing the torment that she goes through was hard to watch at times.
The other characters were just as interesting: Eve, Martha’s counsellor, who wants to help and change the system but just doesn’t know how; Isaac, Jackson’s son, who has secrets of his own; Gus, the homeless man who seems to know everything but tells nothing; and ex-Justice Cicero, a man who wants to see the return of honourable justice and an end to the unfair system they have in place. Together, this cast of characters weaves a story full of mystery, secrets, and startling revelations.
My favourite part of this whole story, was that it felt like I was one of the viewers sitting at home, trying to figure out what was really going on and whether or not Martha truly is guilty of the crime she confessed to. With secret insight into Martha’s ordeal, and the intricate behind-the-scenes workings of Eve and the others, I was fully immersed in this world and each Cell felt like an episode of the show as I read.
Truly an experience like no other, Cell 7 will draw you into the reality TV of death row and have you on the edge of your seat as you work out just what verdict you would cast as the story unravels towards its shocking conclusion. This is one not to be missed!
About the Author
Kerry lives in Lincolnshire between the countryside and the sea. She has a first class honours degree in Professional Writing, has worked for BookStart, and been a finalist in a BBC Scriptwriting for children competition. She’s a proud member of Author Allsorts and The Prime Writers.
Apart from the sensible stuff, Kerry likes to run, bike and swim, and has previously spent 12 hours running over the Humber Bridge again and again… She also swims in lakes in winter in a bikini.
In June she’ll be taking part in a 24hr open water swim in Lincoln where she’ll be raising funds for Book Aid International.
A Brighter Fear was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards
A Dream of Lights was shortlisted for the Hampshire Independent Schools Books Award, awarded Highly Commended at the North East Teen Book Awards and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
She is also the co-coordinator of the UKYA Extravaganza events with author Emma Pass which bring readers, authors and bloggers together to celebrate UKYA talent.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads