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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
Perfect for teen readers who enjoy the science fiction worlds of alternate realities, The Given is the first book in the Interland series by Gary Clark. Soon after her eighteenth birthday, Jay’s mind-reading powers quickly develop. What should have been an amazing discovery turns into a fight for her life. With the government using specially controlled Readers to track down and incarcerate everyone with powers, Jay’s own father is captured for even his minimal abilities. It’s only a matter of time before they track down Jay as well, so she makes her escape to avoid the same fate. With help from her brother and two friends, Jay uses clues from maps and childhood stories to search for the hidden safe haven for those with powers. With no proof that Interland is even real, Jay must find a way to harness her new powers and protect her loved ones.
With a few puzzles and mystery thrown into the adventure, Gary Clark has introduced us to an intriguing world in which different kinds of mind-reading powers are possible in varying degrees. I enjoyed the coming-of-age theme presented throughout The Given. Though perhaps not in the same magical sense, many young adult readers can easily relate to the characters as they discover their own abilities and unique traits, with both a sense of excitement and a fear of being persecuted for who they are. With moments of suspense woven into the plot, the open ending leads me to believe that there is much more in store for Jay and her friends as they continue their adventure in the Interland series.