Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

I received an e-galley from the publisher for an honest review. I’m really sad I postponed reading this book. I had it before it came out and didn’t realize it.

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This book is about Lexi Hamilton, a teenage girl who is wrongly accused of committing one of the seven deadly sins. She is imprisoned for the crime of lust and branded with a bright blue band around her neck that identifies the transgression. She faces much abuse from other prisoners. There are complications when she is assigned to work in the hospital and befriends a dying girl. Also, she is inexplicably attracted to her guard Cole. Stuff happens.

First of all, I was really not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I loved the description and how the authors were not afraid to graphically depict some very serious topics. The book got quite gritty, and I really liked that. It was much more realistic than some of the other dystopians I’ve read. It was darker and not cliche at all. Also, the ending was quite unexpected. I really liked the twist, but I’m not sure how the events turned out that way without anyone knowing. Sorry if that didn’t make sense; I’m trying my best to avoid spoilers.

For me, there was just one problem. I didn’t like the relationship between Lexi and Cole. It was nice at first, no instalove, but Cole got annoying and kind of overdramatic. I realize that if this book were nonfiction, that’s probably how he would actually act, but it was annoying. Cole got really bossy in the middle and then freaked out and started fighting. Oh! Also, I just really wanted more world building.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique dystopian novel. It’s a really good and emotional read, and I loved that it covered so many difficult topics like death, prison, terminal illness, theft, rape, the debate over whether young love is genuine, etc. I found it thought-provoking, and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Tell me if you’ve read it or are planning to. Also, please give me feedback and feel free to post your reviews or links to them below. I’d really love to hear your thoughts, as I haven’t really seen anyone’s thoughts on this book.

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