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Review By Heather

SYNOPSIS courtesy of Goodreads –
Strong-willed Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney and give it to someone else.
In this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the world’s population, life is valued above all else. The mentally ill are sterilized, abortions are illegal and those who refuse to donate an organ when told are sentenced to death.
Determined not to give up her kidney or die, Kelsey enlists the help of her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will be stripped of everything.
RJ Crayton just took me on a wild ride in her sci-fi thriller, Life First. This novel was a poignant, riveting, thought provoking read that had me entranced from page one until the very end of the book. In simple speak, I literally could not put it down. As this is book one in a trilogy, I can’t wait to see what will happen next and hope that I will have the opportunity to do so.
Life First is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the future where the world as we know it is non-existent. Imagine the United States after 80% of the population has been wiped out by a pandemic. Earth keeps spinning on her axis, time keeps moving forward, and slowly civilization reestablishes itself but it’s a completely different ballgame. Each citizen is fitted with a life monitoring system (LMS) chip that sends data to the government about one’s well-being; however, it can also be used as a tracking device. In this society, each member is required to give something back. Some are lucky an only have to donate blood on a biennial basis; however, others become “marked” and are required to donate organs if they are the perfect match to someone in dire need. Crazy, scary stuff… but is it really that farfetched? Hmm… ever wonder what direction things will go in when it comes to government in the future?
Crayton write a captivating book about the freedom of choice… or perhaps the lack there of, standing up for one’s beliefs, and ultimately, the consequences that we face based on the choices that we make.
Imagine being in your early twenties and being notified that you have been “marked” as the perfect match to donate a kidney to a complete stranger. The man needs your organ in order to survive but what about your chance of survival? Could this donation result in your death? If you flee and you are captured you will be sentenced to death and they will harvest your organs at will. What would you do? Is the life of a stranger more important, a higher priority, than yours? Or would you place your life first?
Step into Crayton’s novel and see the choices that Kelsey makes after she has been marked. This book will have you questioning yourself, ethics, government power, moral responsibility, and whether or not the end justifies the means. Crayton draws her reader in and has them stop and really think. I know that as I read I kept asking myself what I would do. How I would handle the situations that Kelsey seems to find herself in. Would I do anything differently?
Life First is a definite page turner that will have you biting your nails, nervous yet excited to see what will happen next. Although this is a novel of fiction it is well-crafted and will certainly give you pause as you stop and think.
Please note, this novel delves into adult situations so if that is something that you are sensitive to be advised prior to reading. 
I recommend that you pick up a copy of Life First by clicking HERE.
A BRIEF NOTE about the story’s origin from author RJ Crayton:
The way this novel originated was a bit of a fluke. I saw a story on the news about a woman who refused to have a cesarean section because she didn’t want to be — if I recall the wording correctly — “sliced open like a pig.” The woman’s baby died because of her refusal. I was horrified by the situation and thought the woman awful for refusing surgery to save her child. However, the more I thought about the issue, I wondered if I was being fair. I asked myself, how often are we told we need to have a surgery, with potentially life-threatening consequences, to save someone else’s life? Should she have to be sliced open to save her husband? Her brother? A neighbor? I wondered, what would it be like to live in a world like that, where we must undergo invasive procedures to our bodies in order to save another’s life? I started writing Life First soon after, with just that one question in my mind. The analogy to pregnancy isn’t quite perfect, as you have to eventually get a baby out by some means. As the maternal mortality rate in many third-world countries shows, maternal health is often inextricably linked with that of the baby. But, this news story was enough to plant the seed of Life First in my mind.
RJ Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (What is a ninja mom, you ask? Not entirely sure, but it sounds like a much more awesome job than regular mom). Before having children, Crayton was a journalist, so all the stuff she wrote had to be true (sniff, sniff). She’s worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Life First is her first published novel. The sequel to this book will be out soon, so she hopes you enjoyed it enough to want more.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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