Reviews

RAVE Reviews from Kirkus:

Counteract: Book One of the Resistance Series:

Lawson (Resist, 2012, etc.) mixes true-to-life fears with intimate character portrayals in this conspiracy thriller, her first work of YA fiction.

In the not-too-distant future, tensions across the globe escalate, and America transforms into a totalitarian state to protect its citizens. Many basic freedoms and creature comforts, from large public gatherings to grocery shopping, remain distant memories, as the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense assures citizens that these measures will keep them secure. But “Compliance is a small price to pay for your safety” isn’t good enough for Careen Catecher and Tommy Bailey, 18-year-olds whose dark histories give them a unique perspective on threats and control. When the OCSD announces an antidote to a dangerous new terrorist weapon, the public accepts the drug without question. But Careen and Tommy, among others, experience vivid hallucinations and profound disorientation, and it becomes harder and harder to think about why they’re taking the medication. When it becomes clear that the threat is a fabrication and the so-called antidote is nothing but a tool to pacify and control the populace, the two decide they must leave everything behind to escape and find the Resistance. At one point, a Resistance member explains the movement’s philosophy: “Free thinkers, like those of us in the Resistance, want to decide for ourselves what’s good for us. We’d like our private affairs to remain private. We’d like the chance to take a risk.” While the psychedelic quality of some of the early chapters makes it difficult to initially connect with the characters, they quickly grow and morph into striking individuals. Beyond Tommy’s ongoing struggle with injury and Careen’s deep-seated anger, the novel introduces a host of secondary characters with their own senses of purpose and drive, rendering a mad world human. As with many dystopian settings, parts of the conspiracy strain the limits of believability, but the concept here is deeper and more complex than one might expect at first glance. The author delivers intriguing details about this fractured world, from the nuances of how the government divided the country into quadrants to the fact that the antidote contains a large quantity of LSD—a clever reference to America’s real-life experimentation with the drug in Project MKUltra. There’s much here to discover.

An exuberant start to a promising new YA series about a totalitarian America.

Resist: Book Two of the Resistance Series:

Lawson (Counteract, 2015, etc.) continues to delve into a terrifying world of conspiracy and totalitarianism in this YA thriller, the second in her Resistance series.

Picking up immediately after the events of Counteract, this sequel throws readers into the action, as Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher have become scapegoats for the American government and the powerful Office of Civilian Safety and Defense. It would be bad enough if they’d only interrupted a press conference and informed the public that the OCSD’s latest project—an antidote to a terrorist chemical weapon—was a hoax designed to drug and control the populace. But the director of the agency died on camera just after Careen’s shocking announcement, so she has become public enemy No. 1. While much of the first volume dealt with mystery and investigation, the stakes have only become higher in this sequel, as the confused and frightened lovers must fight for their lives and figure out how they fit into the anti–OCSD Resistance. Of course, even once the most immediate danger recedes, the Resistance fails to provide a perfect safe haven, with internal strife, confusion, treachery, and jealousy causing a wide array of problems for the couple. On top of all that, there’s the nightmare of Madalyn Davies, the wolfish new head of the OCSD and the person responsible for much of Careen and Tommy’s predicament. In a world where so few individuals have any power at all, a villain who abuses and hoards hers to such an extent is all the more striking. The setting of the series becomes even more intriguing here, as it’s difficult to imagine going against an unjust government when citizens have already given up nearly all of their basic rights and freedoms in the name of safety. The perspective of the Resistance and some forays into Tommy’s and Careen’s families and pasts also allow for a greater exploration of what they’ve really lost, driving the severity of their situation home even more than in the initial book. Character and setting were great strengths of the first installment, but they’re given even greater depth here, imparting surprise and insight with every page turned.

An adrenaline rush of a novel about an oppressive America that promises more to come.

 

Reader Reviews:Counteractsubtitle

Most dystopian thrillers focus on the devastating consequences of the unleashed virus or poison on society, community, and the individual. They become character studies of the protagonists and antagonists. Tracy Lawson’s novel asks even more disturbing questions–what if the real culprit was someone or something we trusted? Who will be willing to challenge the authorities, whomever they may be, to preserve their freedom? Counteract is a fast paced thriller that can transcend its genre. I thought The Hunger Games might be the Millennial Generation’s version of George Orwell’s 1984. Now, I think Counteract and the Resistance Series are more primed to take that spot.

–Sam Staley, author of St. Nic, Inc.

“What if the government controlled every aspect of your life? From the food that you eat, to the programming you watch on television? Every. Single. Aspect. What if the government – the one you trusted so much, tells you that an airborne chemical weapons attack from another nation is imminent and you HAD to take an antidote to counteract the deadly air that MIGHT be coming? Would you question it? And what would you do if you found out that the government – the one thing that you trusted all of your life has LIED? Would you fight back or comply? This is the world that Ms. Lawson has created and it is pure genius! Of course, this is a work of fiction, but something that I could totally see happening in the near future – our future, and this book really will make you think….what if?

Counteract is so action-packed and so thought-provoking, I had a difficult time putting it down. The characters are realistic and totally relatable. And the writing? It flowed so effortlessly and was edited so perfectly, I was surprised to learn that this is the author’s first novel. {{Insert applause}} If you love Dystopian fiction, then you’re going to love this uniquely fresh story that will keep you interested and on the edge of your seat throughout. I really look forward to reading the next installment of this intriguing and thrilling trilogy of corrupted government and the Resistance that wants to bring it all down.”

–The Avid Book Collector review blog

Resistsubtitle“I actually liked Resist more than Counteract (if that’s even possible). Yeah, you heard me right — I liked the sequel more than the first book. When does that ever happen? Basically never, I tend to get really irritated with sequels, but nope, not with Resist.

Why You Should Read This Book:
re·sist
rəˈzist/
verb
try to prevent by action or argument.
+ Careen: I love Careen. She’s such a strong, brave, and independent character. And she’s all about   solving things in a peaceful way.
+ Tommy: If you’ve read my review of the first book then you already know how I feel about Tommy, I totally love his character.
+ Tommy and Careen face some problems, but they are still totally ship-worthy. 😉
+ The Writing: The writing in the first book was gorgeous so of course it was flawless in this one.
+ The Pace: It’s that time of the year again where everyone is back in school, trying to get the hang of things, and completely freaking out. If that’s you, well, then this book is perfect for you. It’s not that long and it’s just so fast-paced with so many plot twists, there was no part where I wasn’t into it. I totally devoured this book.
+ Cliffhanger: Oh goodness, this book has one of the most intense cliffhangers ever and it has me dying for the next book.”

–Cari Zepeda

“I could barely put down the first book, but this one was much more intense than the last! We meet back up with Tommy and Careen and their fight against governmental control.

“They are not alone and soon join others in order to attempt to start a revolution. However, even becoming freedom fighters in their world comes with a price. Both of them began to separate due to the changes occurring along with their different opinions. I’m not going to spoil anymore but I’m awaiting to see what happens next!

“This book had more twists and turns than the last! It was gut-wrenching at times but the fight for freedom fights back harder. Great sequel!”

–Cayce Hrivnak

 

Ignite 004“Ignite is the best possible title this book could have been given. It’s obviously the third in the series and it really is opening a lot of doors for this Resistance we have all come to love and know a bit more. I feel like every character grew, good or bad the development is obvious and it is so incredibly entertaining to read.

“While I was reading it, I told Tracy the author how much I loved Danni. It is so amazing that there is an imperfect female character just trying to make her way in the world. She isn’t a hero, she just is a girl and she really isn’t that exciting when we first met her in book 2. As the characters and plot thicken I noticed that the author does this kinda fun thing at the end of most chapters, she like adds a little “make you think” quote and it literally reshaped how I thought of the conversation and the characters involved.

“Young Adult literature needs to be more like this. There’s things happening. And yes there is love and lust and change….. But that isn’t our focus here. My favorite part was in the end seeing the way that Tommy took care of Careen. We never think of the male characters having trauma but he opened up and managed to make her feel safe even though he was breaking apart inside!

“You’ll love Atari and how quirky he is… Plus lets be honest. I’m a huge nerd and all of his references made me squeal! Each character is weird and funny and imperfect and that is all we really need in the world.”

–Devon Duran

Reviewed By Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

Ignite by Tracy Lawson is a fascinating thriller for young adults and the third book in the Resistance Series. Ignite introduces a dystopian setting where people are suffering from hunger and social unrest. An organization that should take care of the safety of the inhabitants is losing its grip because of the resistance. In the social chaos, heroes stand out — Careen Catecher, a young, dynamic and committed fighter who wants her freedom and survival. Tommy Bailey is a brave young man who is in love with Careen, and committed to the fight of the resistance. Can these two stay together, given the chaotic social conditions and the conflicts that force them to watch every step they take and look over their shoulders wherever they go?

This is a great story, one of those rare dystopian thrillers that had me reading nonstop, and what caught my attention most was the fascinating setting, captured in vivid prose. The writing is highly descriptive and engaging, and the plot is fast-paced, action-rich, and utterly entertaining. The characters are well-imagined, and whether they are working on a solution from a tight spot or looking for a way forward, they come across as charged, exuding focus and a strong determination to stand against the people who, out of greed, are bent on sinking their world. The chapters are well crafted to push the reader over the edge into the next one. Tracy Lawson is skilled at crafting emotionally and psychologically rich scenes, a conflict-driven plot that allows the reader no moment of distraction. It is focused; it is entertaining in an absorbing kind of way. This is the first book I have read in the series and I am already enlisted as a huge fan. I will have to go back and find out how the chaos started and where it will end.

Reviewed By Kim Anisi for Readers’ Favorite

Careen is in the hand of the OCSD, who now want to use her image to their own advantage – and they will use all means necessary to slowly and painfully break her into cooperating with them. At the same time, the OCSD is preparing to roll out a device called the Cereberean Link, which would make it possible for them to track all under 18s (for the public, the device is meant to keep children from ever being hungry or left injured and lost) – and later on adults as the link can never be removed. Unlike Careen, Tommy managed to get away after the unfortunate bombing accident at the end of book 2. He wants nothing more than to get Careen back because he cannot believe that she would turn against the resistance. He temporarily lives with a guy called Atari, who is directly responsible for developing the Link – but apparently wants to use it against the OCSD. But who can the members of the resistance trust when more and more is at stake, and loyalties are questioned?

There are some brutal things happening to Careen in Ignite by Tracy Lawson, and as readers became attached to her over the first two books, it’s not easy to read what is happening to her, and how it is changing everything. Right to the end – and I mean LITERALLY right to the end – you will have some questions about whether Careen will ever be the same. A question that will most likely be answered in another part of the series. I highly recommend readers to read the first two books in the Resistance series by Tracy Lawson before they start with book 3, Ignite. It would otherwise be a bit difficult to understand. Like the previous two volumes of the Resistance series, this is a book that makes it hard for readers to put it down. There is a lot happening to the different characters. I like that the spotlight isn’t always on Careen and Tommy as knowing about the other characters is very interesting, too. Atari seems a bit dodgy; who knows what he is up to? While the plot ideas can be found in older novels, too, it takes a lot of talent to make them feel fresh. I never felt like I was reading just another copy of another dystopian YA novel, or was following another Katniss Everdeen. The Resistance series is a series I would recommend to people looking for a new YA series to start, but who do not want to be bored by more of the same.

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Resist: Book Two of the Resistance Series won a Silver Medal in the 2016 International Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Resist was named Best YA Fiction 2016 by the Texas Association of Authors Book Awards