Book Review: ‘Counteract’ by Tracy Lawson

August 30, 2016     Holly     Reviews

Book Review: ‘Counteract’ by Tracy LawsonCounteract by Tracy Lawson
Series: Resistance #1
Published by Lawson Publishing on August 25, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 192
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Review Copy
3 Stars

Who do you trust when your world unravels and everything you believed is a lie?

For the past fifteen years, The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has guarded the public against the rampant threat of terrorism. Teenagers Tommy and Careen have never known life without the government-approved Civilian Restrictions. For them, there’s no social media. No one is allowed to gather in public places or attend concerts or sporting events. Only a small, select group of adults have driving privileges. It’s a small price to pay for safety.

Now a new, more deadly, terrorist threat looms: airborne chemical weapons that can be activated without warning. The OCSD is ready with an antidote to counteract the effects of the toxins. Three drops a day is all it takes. It’s a small price to pay for health.

Tommy and Careen obediently take the antidote; neither considers stopping when strange things begin to happen. The day the disaster sirens signal the dreaded attack, Tommy shares his last dose with Careen, even though doing so might hasten his death. It’s a small price to pay for a friend.

Follow Tommy and Careen as they uncover a web of lies and deceit reaching to the highest levels of the United States government and join an underground resistance group that’s determined to expose the truth.

Counteract by Tracy Lawson was a book that caught my eye the moment it was presented to me, with a dystopian plotline different from any other I’ve read in recent times, and I couldn’t wait to dig in. But in the end, the novel as a whole fell kind of flat and left me with a “meh” taste in my mouth.

In Counteract, Lawson creates a future America that isn’t very hard to imagine. The government, through a division called The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) controls almost every aspect of the citizens daily lives under the pretense of protecting innocents from terrorist attacks. There’s no social media, travel, cash transactions, driver’s licenses, or grocery stores for the average citizen, all in an affort to keep civilians safe and protected from those who would do them harm.

And it’s not that hard to imagine a world like this today, in light of recent events. And it’s this potential for truth that I enjoyed the most about Counteract. It was easy to stop and think, “Wow, could this actually happen?” and not immediately have an answer. It made me question a lot of the decisions I leave to the government in the hopes that it is making the best decision for my health and safety.

But when the OCSD claims that all citizens must take a daily antidote to protect against an imminent threat of biological warfare, things start going a little crazy. And when our main characters, Careen and Tommy, end up missing a delivery of the antidote, they realize that perhaps the antidote isn’t to protect the citizens after all.

So the idea behind Counteract is good. It’s just this side of exciting and should make it impossible to put down. But my problems started from the very beginning. I didn’t like Tommy or Careen as heroes, but only because I don’t feel as if I got to know them well enough to actually understand them at any point due to some pacing issues. Lawson tries to cram so much information and action and varying characters into Counteract that it becomes hard to follow and way to fast-paced. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good novel that moves along quickly, but there’s definitely a line that an author can push too far.

I also felt like Lawson spent so much time in Counteract describing what the characters were experiencing while taking the antidote, and repeating scenes with minor changes, that when she actually got to the heavy-duty action, there wasn’t enough time to properly due it justice. Add in the little attention that’s paid to side plots, like why Tommy and Careen had to meet, or the significance of what a few different characters were doing inside the OCSD, I found myself getting lost and rereading sections to try and understand motivations or a sequence of events.

Basically, I didn’t hate Counteract by any means, but I definitely didn’t love it. It actually felt more like work then pleasure while reading, and that’s just something I can’t look past.

**A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**

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