Poster Girl by Veronica Roth

Reviewed by Margaret Elizabeth

‘Right is Right’ proclaims the political slogan of the Delegation, forever associated with the image of sixteen-year-old Sonya Kantor. Suddenly, a revolution turns fame to infamy and Sonya is imprisoned in the Aperture for life, transformed from feted Poster Girl to the living symbol of the evils of the old regime. Ten years on, battered by grief, loss and hardship, Sonya has survived under the harsh neglect of the new regime, the Triumvirate. Growing food, fixing scraps of technology and trading skills for necessities, Sonya is stronger but none the wiser about life outside the Aperture.

Veronica Roth has created a dystopian society that is chilling in its resemblance to how we live now and what may be coming in the near future. What began as easy to use, ubiquitous technology has turned into extreme technological surveillance and control in all aspects of life through the implantation of an Implant in the eye of Delegation babies. This is misinformation and political right speak taken to the extreme.

Sonya’s fatalistic acceptance of her place in this dystopia is upended when a man from the Triumvirate comes to Sonya with a proposal. In exchange for finding a child removed from the child’s family by the Delegation, Sonya can leave the Aperture and live freely under Triumvirate rule. Sonya is unsure whether this is a real task or a Triumvirate ruse to quietly dispose of the inconvenient Poster Girl. Unused to making choices, Sonya becomes paralysed by indecision and her hatred for the man who betrayed her family.

Traumatised by past events, Sonya considers whether it matters if she is disposable or not, then she hears a recording of the missing child’s voice. Spurred into action, Sonya feels compelled to right a wrong and is granted day release to enter the Triumvirate world and find the child. Political ideologies clash as Sonya struggles to fulfill her quest and mesh the old world and the new. What is right now? What was right then? Sonya’s thoughts and emotions are disorientating. Sonya struggles for stability as her search leads her deeper and deeper into the dangerous unknown.

Seeking reconnection with her deceased family, Sonya revisits her childhood home. What she finds is unsettling and forces Sonya to confront personal and family responsibility. Reality is stark and truth is hard to discern. As all the pieces come together Sonya realises what action she must take to survive physically and psychologically.

Poster Girl cannot rewrite the past but can she find a path to reconciliation?  This novel is a thrilling journey full of twists and turns as the shape of what seems to be, continually evolves. This book is right up there with Roth’s book series, Divergent. Poster Girl is a cracking tale that resonates long after reading.

Poster Girl

[2022]

by Veronica Roth

Hodder and Stoughton

ISBN 978 152933 103 5

$32.99; 400pp

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