Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

CqeVntcWgAARwQ2Death is Justice is the only reality TV show where the power to save the innocent and execute the guilty lies in your hands. For seven days the accused must wait to learn their fate as the votes are counted. Until Day 7, Cell 7, when the wait is over, and the decision is announced on live television: do they live, or do they die?

For the first time a teenager is in Cell 7. An adored celebrity TV presenter has been killed and sixteen-year-old Martha was found holding a gun, standing over the body. Now the public must decide whether she is innocent or guilty. Martha has admitted to the crime. But did she pull the trigger? Or is it that sometimes reality is more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?

I received this copy from the publishers for an honest review.

When this new title by Kerry Drewery dropped through my letterbox I  was instantly intrigued by the dystopic premise. I am a huge fan of stories that, through minor tweaks to our current society, paint a terrifying picture of a future Earth. Many of these dystopian tales have recently made the transition from page to screen with the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent feeding my appetite for bleak, imagined realities. Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery does just that. By exploring prisoners on death row, Cell 7 highlights the increasing flaws in our own judicial systems. Is any dystopian novel really an insight into a future society or is it merely an imagined metaphor of our current society? Having recently watched Netflix’s Making a Murderer, it is clear that Kerry Drewery’s imagined world isn’t too far off from our own.

Cell 7 tells the story of Martha, a teenage girl, who has been sentenced to death for a killing she wholeheartedly admits. However, through the multiple POVs (including Martha’s counsellor and boyfriend), it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Why would Martha admit to a crime she did not commit? In this future world, all death row cases play out live on TV – a chilling extension of our current ‘Big Brother’ culture. Members of the public are encouraged to call in to vote as to whether the accused should live or die. However, being dystopic fiction, the system is inevitably corrupt and only the rich can afford to vote. Are the phone lines being rigged? Martha has seven days, and seven cells, to discover her fate.

Woven throughout the story are hints of a secret, a secret Martha will share on the day of her death. Although Kerry Drewery attempted to drop in subtle  references to this ‘secret’, this made the middle section of the novel drag. There was no doubt in my mind that Martha was innocent so just cut to the chase already! Although I wasn’t a major fan of Kerry Drewery’s writing style, there is no denying that the story line is fantastic and would make a great movie. The last few chapters are page-turningly addictive and I found myself racing through to discover Martha’s fate. Playing out like a film-script, the ending definitely made up for the mediocre middle and I was glad I stuck it out. Filled with tension and suspense, this novel prompts the reader to ask questions about the world around them and is a must read for fans of dystopian YA.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published: September 2016

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