Our latest Book Club selection was “Tabula Rasa” by Kristen Lippert-Martin, who’s a debut author in the DC area, where Sandie lives. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to post a Book Club selection, so we were more than happy to be able to read this book and share some of our thoughts about it. Unfortunately, with so much to keep them busy, our teens were unable to participate except for Erin who really loved the book, so thanks Erin. Our adult contributors seemed to have similar feelings about the book and gave positive reviews. Overall, Teen Lit Rocks, can happily recommend “Tabula Rasa” to its readers.
Publisher: EgmontUSA, 352 pages | Pub Date: September 23, 2014 |Buy the Book
The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.
But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.
Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.
A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.
Erin graded the book an A:
The book begins in a mental hospital, focusing on a girl named Sarah. She is in the final stages of an operation aimed at erasing her memory… in a few days she will effectively be a blank slate. Though this may seem like the ideal solution to leave a bad past behind, complications arise when an army of high tech soldiers invade her confined world. Sarah encounters internal and external conflict as she finds it necessary to venture back into the recesses of her forgotten past.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I found that Miss Lippert- Martin had a very unique way of approaching the typical dystopian theme, and I loved the development of the main character, Sarah. Though I found some of the transitions to be a little choppy, I overall thought Tabula Rasa was very well written. All the characters received similar treatment; the book introduced us to a few established and well-described secondary characters. It was really interesting to experience flashbacks throughout the book, leading to the sensation of two simultaneously developing story lines. Overall, Tabula Rasa was a great read, and I would highly recommend it!
Adult Reader Average: B
Melanie graded the book a B+:
“Sarah” knows very little about herself. Because of her troubled past, Sarah has been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure to make her a blank slate, a tabula rasa. Memory by memory, her brain is being wiped clean in the hopes that she can start a new life, free from the patterns of delinquency that shaped her past.Before her final surgery, however, total chaos ensues as soldiers invade the isolated facility, apparently intent on wiping out Sarah herself. As Sarah fights for survival and escape, memories and extraordinary abilities begin to return to her as she tries to piece together who she is and why someone wants to get rid of her.I thought Tabula Rasa was a thrilling read. If you’ve been looking for something to fill the void left after completing books like The Hunger Games or Divergent, Tabula Rasa is a great choice.
Keely graded the book a B:
Tabula Rasa is a new entry in the realm of dystopian YA literature. Sarah, our heroine, is a self-possessed girl with a troubled past – though she doesn’t really know what her past is.
I love the way the story opened with both the reader and Sarah trying to figure out what was really going on versus what she was being told. It was very griping and pulls the reader into the story quickly – it is a hard book to put down.
The main male character was a bit weaker in construction than Sarah, but still compelling. It took a while to figure out what his role was in the larger plan afoot in this alternate earth. The love interest was a slow build initially that reached an overly quick realization, but perhaps given the urgency of their situation this is appropriate. I found it a tad overdone myself, but it a minor flaw overall.
The backstory to Sarah and her reasons for being in the hospital is utterly fascinating and probably the highpoint of the book for me. Kristen Lippert-Martin has a completely unique twist in place for the main characters and we find out they are all considered damaged goods by society. The slow reveal of the plot and the past of the characters felt clunky at times and the story ends with a lot of unanswered questions (with no plans for a sequel as far as I am aware), but it is kind of invigorating to read a book in this genre that does not tie up all the loose ends for a change and doesn’t promise two more sequels.
The plot is engaging, Sarah is compelling and interesting heroine and the world is unlike any I’ve read in dystopian literature thus far. If you like a neatly tied-up plot with all questions answered or the trilogy treatment, you might be tempted to shy away from Tabula Rasa, but I think it is worth the read for the plot alone.
Cara graded the book a B-:
A young woman finds herself imprisoned in a remote hospital undergoing a series of procedures that systematically wipe out her memory. But things go topsy turvy when a team of assassins invade the isolated location with her in their crosshairs.
As a movie, this has the makings for a box office hit. “In a world… where nothing makes sense…” It’s La Femme Nikita meets Die Hard. There are twists and turns, a damaged heroine, improbable good guys and really bad, bad guys. I could easily imagine a Josie Loren-esque teen careening through the abandoned halls. But while this could be a satisfying action movie, it just didn’t quite hit the mark on an emotional level as a book. The romance was too quick. Too many plot holes and unanswered questions. If this had been the first in a series, I can understand leaving so much hanging, but as far as I know, it is not.Despite its missteps, this is a fun read. I raced through it in a 24 hour period. It is fast paced and packed with punches. If you don’t mind not really understanding the whys and hows, and lets face it, sometimes we just need a book that doesn’t make us cry or think too hard, then this is a great read.