Technology in medicine has made an astounding breakthrough: your disease or illness can be cured… if you transfer it to someone else. This concept, although fascinating in its concept, quickly becomes a frightening aspect of the book. Illness is passed to criminals in a revised judicial system. But even petty crimes and children are punished, and no medication is given to those who suffer. A simple cold, if turned deadly through complications, will be fatal.
It is into this alternative realm that author Kate Blair takes her readers.
Transferal falls under the Young Adult category, but the themes and concerns present in the novel apply to any reader. Inequality, lack or moral interest, and prejudice due to fear and misinformation are at the heart of the issues driving the plot of this novel. Our main protagonist, Talia Hale moves through a process of naivety to enlightenment and the subsequent trauma of disillusionment. The world is not black and white and she learns this with a difficult lesson.
Much like any of us, Talia wants to do good, but is unsure how to go about it. Her motivations at the beginning stem from good intentions, but her lack of knowledge causes her to harm others in ways she never took into account. Her actions are an excellent example of the folly of rushing to act based on assumptions. Time, research, and genuine concern into what would be best for the individual in need (not what you think would be best) is a hard lesson learned for Talia, who sees the consequences of her actions place new friends in grave danger.
Transferral takes the reader along a journey of discovery. Talia, at the start of the novel, holds a certain naive perception of worldview; she sees in black and white. As she delves into a deeper understanding on how the transfer system truly affects London society, she moves through varying stages of denial, repulsion, fear, and, ultimately, courage and desire to impact change. The reader is very much wrapped around Talia’s journey, and experiences her revelations at the same time she does.
All in all, Transferral is a book that moves quickly, building tension and conflict to a dynamic and page-turning crescendo. The ending will satisfy, but at the same time leave readers with thought-provoking questions concerning their own abilities to impact change.
Enjoyability rating: ****/5
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books