Transferral by Kate Blair

9:00 AM

Title: Transferral
Author: Kate Blair
Release Date: October 24, 2015
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books
Pages: 180
Source: eARC provided by Dancing Cat Books
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Overall: 3.5 STARS

London, England, present day. This is the world as we know it, but with one key difference: medical science has found a way to remove diseases from the sick. The catch? They can only transfer the diseases into other living humans. The government now uses the technology to cure the innocent by infecting criminals. 

It is into this world that Talia Hale is born. Now sixteen and the daughter of a prime ministerial candidate, she discovers that the effort to ensure that bad things happen only to bad people has turned a once-thriving community into a slum, and has made life perilous for two new friends.

When Talia’s father makes an election promise to send in the police to crack down on this community, Talia can only think of how much worse things will be for her friends. Will she defy her father to protect them, even if it means costing him the election?

Transferral, the debut from Kate Blair, is a chilling look at a world gone wrong because of its efforts to do right. 

In an alternate London, England, the National Transfer Service has become a fundamental part of the legal system. Criminals are punished with viruses and diseases transferred from sick patients. Common colds are given for petty crimes, while serious offenders receive infectious diseases like tuberculosis and meningitis. Symptoms of sickness have become associated with crime.

Sixteen-year-old Talia Hale has never questioned the Transfer system; she's always believed it saves innocent lives and acts as a deterrent for future crime. It's a belief Talia shares with her father, leader of the National Law Party, who's campaign for becoming the next prime minister has heavily emphasized a 'tough on crime' agenda. But when a routine visit to the hospital for a Transfer goes terribly wrong, Talia becomes fixated on finding a girl who's disappeared into the Barbican, the slums of London where criminals and the poor live. 

Talia's search for the mysterious girl named Tig forces her to look beyond the narrow scope of her privileged life. She's never known hunger and sickness, nor been concerned about money, unlike the harsh reality faced by people living in the Barbican. Let's face it, Talia is a naive, albeit well-meaning girl, impulsively throwing herself into a world she doesn't truly understand. But to her credit, she tries, she really does try to learn. 

Initially, Talia was just so convinced in her ideologies, that the world could so clearly be divided into black and white instead of existing in a grey area. It's not until she sees the injustice experienced in the Barbican that Talia realizes just how sheltered her life has been. As Talia comes to realize, it's hard to break the cycle of crime when you're cornered and left with no options.

Kate Blair's YA debut Transferral is a fast-paced, engrossing novel that naturally encourages discussion about the way crime and poverty are irrevocably intertwined. It calls attention to the importance and need for social services to help the less fortunate. And with such an intriguing concept of transferring disease, it asks us to question our own stances toward crime and punishment. But what I think makes Kate Blair's Transferral such a chilling read is the realization that life in the Barbican is not too far removed from reality. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Kate Blair's next YA book in the future!

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