ARC Review: Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

Title: Escaping Eleven

Author: Jerri Chisholm

Page Length: 384

Publication Date: Dec. 8, 2020

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Synopsis: In Compound Eleven, the hierarchy of the floors is everything.

My name is Eve Hamilton, and on my floor, we fight.

Which at least is better than the bottom floor, where they toil away in misery. Only the top floor has any ease in this harsh world; they rule from their gilded offices.

Because four generations ago, Earth was rendered uninhabitable—the sun too hot, the land too barren. Those who remained were forced underground. While not a perfect life down here, I’ve learned to survive as a fighter.

Except my latest match is different. Instead of someone from the circuit, my opponent is a mysterious boy from the top floor. And the look in his eyes tells me he’s different…maybe even kind.

Right before he kicks my ass.

Still, there’s something about him—something that says he could be my salvation…or my undoing. Because I’m no longer content to just survive in Eleven. Today, I’m ready to fight for more than my next meal: I’m fighting for my freedom. And this boy may just be the edge I’ve been waiting on.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |       Amazon         

My Review:

Escaping Eleven is an immersive, action-packed story about one girl’s fight for freedom. In this dystopian world, the earth was too hot to survive, and people were forced to live in underground compounds. Eve, a sixteen-year-old fighter on the cusp of choosing her career, is stifled by the hierarchal rules and restrictions. Eve desires freedom above all else. Haunted by the loss of her younger brother and the unfair and extreme rules of the compound which forced his banishment, Eve is determined to escape Compound Eleven. However, can Eve leave her family, friends, a new relationship with a boy named Wren, and all she’s ever known behind?

Eve is a well-layered and fascinating protagonist. Strong and vulnerable, certain and unsure, Eve has such depth. Taught from a very young age to be self-reliant, Eve has complicated relationships with her parents. Luckily, she has supportive friends and a new love interest to fill the void of an absentee family. Above all, Eve craves freedom and hopes that is the answer to her unhappiness and discontent. I love that she faces obstacles head-on, and her strength of character is prevalent throughout the story.

Excellent use of imagery and symbolism further stresses the smothered suffocation Eve feels living in the confines of Compound Eleven. It is a brutal and unforgiving caste system, especially for the people of the lower castes where violence, depravity, and suffering are a way of life. The author does a great job of detailing the ugliness of Eve’s life in the lower levels, which stands in stark contrast to Wren’s upper-level world.

Wren, Eve’s love interest, is an interesting character as well, and I’m hopeful we’ll learn more about him and his life before meeting Eve. He understands Eve well, and their relationship makes Eve reevaluate her prejudices, beliefs, and feelings about the upper castes. Other characters, Especially Eve’s close friends and enemies are dynamic additions to the story as well.

I enjoyed this engrossing YA dystopia. Issues like abuse, emotional abandonment, and unrequited love are explored throughout the story, as are themes of facing one’s fears, fighting against oppression and for equality, and rejecting corruptive power. Plus, there’s a forbidden romance, a ton of action, a shocking betrayal, compelling characters, and a surprising cliffhanger ending.

I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for Eve in future books in the series! Thanks so much to Netgalley, Entangled Teen, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • Eve. She is a compelling and dynamic protagonist.
  • The dystopian, post-apocalyptic world.
  • Great imagery and symbolism, especially the use of walls to show feelings of confinement/entrapment.
  • Strong dystopian themes.

Favorite Lines:

Your life is too important to waste on other people’s wants.

Sometimes when I’m with Wren, it feels like our differences don’t separate us. Like we are the same person, who happen to come from different places. But other times, like now, our differences feel vast. So vast it is a wonder we can see each other from either side.


Sexual assault, abuse, familial abandonment, violence, and murder might trigger some readers.

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