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Clementine has lived on the surface of Kiel her entire life. She is used to fighting for her life as she lives on the brink of starvation and under the constant threat that one day, the moon’s poison could seep through the shield protecting the surface-dwellers from total annihilation. However, the true test of how long she will live is not determined by poison or the amount of food; it rests on her Promise score, which will rate her aptitude for success and tells whether or not she is worthy of living in the Core. Winning a life in the planet’s Core means safety, food and a long and fulfilling life. Meanwhile, being trapped on the surface means being forced to have children, working long days for nothing and dying young. However, more danger arrives as the novel progresses to a climax that leaves no one in Kiel safe.

When I first picked up EXTRACTION, I’ll admit that I had high expectations. Personally, sci-fi novels with poisonous moons and dramatic worlds get me hooked every single time. I was even more pumped up about it after the absolutely gorgeous first sentence: “Today I have to prove that I deserve to stay alive.” However, as you read this story, you begin to realize that it was no joke when this was pitched as ENDER’S GAME meets THE HUNGER GAMES, but to be honest, it’s a lot less HUNGER GAMES and much more like DIVERGENT. In fact, the whole book seemed like a parallel of Veronica Roth’s series. I mean this in both a positive and negative way. Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable read.

For starters, I thought the world building was interesting. A lot of the book is dedicated to learning more about the setting, Kiel, and it was done fairly well. There is plenty of clichés in Diaz’s setting, like the separated society, the militaristic and dictatorial leader, and of course the annual testing, but they each have a unique twist.

If you enjoyed DIVERGENT, you’ll adore this book. If you loved ENDER’S GAME, the world is going to fascinate you.

The most notable twist pertained to the separated society. We’re so used to seeing society organized by districts, factions or classes in YA fiction that it often goes unnoticed. Yet in EXTRACTION, instead of living on the planet, the separation is inside of the planet. Classes are spread out in a couple of geographic layers of Kiel, with the poorest living on the surface next to the poisonous moon and the successful living at the heart of the planet: the Core. This layout was actually really fascinating and different. Everyone’s goal is to get to the Core, but, thanks to the testing cliché, to do this they must have a certain aptitude for intellect, strength and obedience. The whole plot is driven by this test and Clementine’s determination to live in the Core.

Many of these clichés mimic DIVERGENT to a vast degree, but regardless, Stephanie Diaz does a thorough job entertaining us with small plot twists along the way. Despite the fact that we had a few ideas as to the direction the plots were going, I was really impressed that the author managed to still surprise us and hold our attention; that takes a lot of talent to do. She wrote from an intriguing perspective, and the way Clementine thought was right on point with her character. She was practically a genius, so I liked that she was so curious and asked questions --- geniuses are generally very inquisitive people, after all.

Also, as I mentioned, the twist near the end where we figure out what’s actually going on was amazing --- I didn’t see it coming at all. I’m not sure what it was about this book that made it such a pleasant read, but I do know that it definitely left me satisfied enough to want to read the next book. It didn't blow me away, per se, but it’s worth a read. If you enjoyed DIVERGENT, you’ll adore this book. If you loved ENDER’S GAME, the world is going to fascinate you. If you are interested in general dystopian YA fiction, I’d recommend you pick up this book. It won’t disappoint.

Reviewed by Sydney L., Teen Board Member on August 5, 2014

by Stephanie Diaz