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Two teens discover the government is staging terrorist attacks to exploit and control the public in Tracy Lawson’s eerily believable YA debut novel.

In an alternate reality version of 2034, terrorist attacks on American soil continue after the events of 9/11. The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense, created in 2019 to oversee domestic security, rises to unprecedented heights of power by exploiting the people’s overriding fear of terrorism.

When Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher meet during one of the bogus terrorist attacks, they discover the OCSD’s darkest secret: an antidote distributed by the government to “protect” people from the effects of imaginary toxins in the air is really being used to lull them into a state of submission.

Tommy and Careen face a difficult choice: stay quiet about what they know—or risk their safety and anonymity to join an underground rebel group that’s determined to break the OCSD’s grip on the nation.

Counteract explores the nature of power and the consequences and difficulties created when government attempts to control minute details of citizens’ daily existence.

"Tracy Lawson's novel asks an even more disturbing question--what if the real culprit was someone or something we trusted? I thought The Hunger Games might be the Millennial generation's version of George Orwell's 1984. Now, I think Counteract and the Resistance Series are more primed to take that spot."--SR Staley, author of St. Nic, Inc., and the Tortuga Bay series.

192 pages, Paperback

First published August 4, 2014

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Tracy Lawson

19 books189 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 68 reviews
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,174 reviews155 followers
April 9, 2017
*Thank you to the author for providing me a free e-copy. This is my full and honest opinion.*

So, this is a dystopian story. But what really sets it apart from the other ones like Divergent, The Hunger Games, or Legend. Why? Because this book seems so real. The premise of this book seems like just another dystopian, but in truth, there are so many parts of this story that are grounded in modern society, and when you think of the terrorist threats that have plagued the world and compare it to the society in Counteract, the similarities are striking.

This book depicts just how powerful fear can be - which kind of explains Trump's popularity - and how it allows an already corrupt government to take away people's liberties all under the guise of protection.

Admittedly the only thing I had trouble with was the multi-character perspective; there were so many people and so many different thoughts that at first I had some trouble wrapping my head around who was who. Eventually, I did get into the groove, and I thought this book became a fast and engaging read.
Profile Image for Johanna Harness.
Author 3 books63 followers
September 3, 2014
I'm giving this book five stars because the premise is so fresh and because the narrative works well as a beginning point to discuss how we are often asked to give up freedom and privacy for a sense of security.

The story opens with citizens being told they must take a drug to counteract the effects of a terrorist-released poison. Lawson creates a clever narrative where we begin knowing, without question, that the terrorists are the enemy. By the end, we realize that those truly loyal to the country must rise up against the existing powers--effectively becoming terrorists themselves.

There is so much action and plot packed into this short book. I did find myself wishing at times, that we might slow down a bit and get to know the characters more intimately, but that says more about me than the story as it is told. Overall, well done.
Profile Image for Jacqueline Smith.
Author 30 books286 followers
April 30, 2016
In a fictional era where futuristic dystopian novels are all the rage, it's difficult to find a whole lot of originality. Counteract by Tracy Lawson provides a look into a not-so distant future that at first glance seems farfetched and unrealistic… Yet the more you read, the more you think, you start to realize that a United States under the strict control and surveillance of The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense doesn't seem quite so impossible.

In the year 2034, the United States government has gone to such great lengths to protect its citizens from the ever-looming threat of terrorism and chemical warfare that the world as we know it no longer exists. There is no social media, no tourism, no freedom. There is only the strict control of the OCSD.

In the face of yet another airborne attack, two teens, Careen and Tommy, as well as the rest of the population, are provided an antidote: three drops a day. You take the antidote, you live, you don't, you die. But the United States government has secrets, and as Careen and Tommy soon discover, not everything is as it seems.

Well-written and fast-paced, I highly recommend Counteract to fans of dystopia, political corruption, and futuristic fantasy.
Profile Image for Claire Heaven.
120 reviews5 followers
January 8, 2019
Tommy and Careen start out as naïve teenagers who believe the government will protect them from an imminent chemical attack by terrorists. Overwhelmed by fear mongered by the very people who are trusted to protect them, the pair are amongst the millions who willingly take the drug they’re offered and believe it will protect them. Purely by accident they discover the truth about the so-called, ‘antidote’, that it is merely a cocktail of drugs to subdue the masses. Then they must decide, who is really the enemy?
It’s so easy to draw comparisons with our current government and maybe that’s the scariest part of this book. A beautifully controlled YA drama that ends before it really begins and left me wanting to just simply carry on reading. And just to make me really want to follow our young duo into their next adventure there’s a tasty preview of the second in this series, Resist.
Profile Image for H. P..
607 reviews30 followers
July 18, 2016
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
– Ben Franklin

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense confirmed that a chemical weapons attack against the United States is imminent. Terrorists have released a latent cocktail of poisons into the atmosphere, where it can remain, inert, until such time as they choose to detonate it. You are directed to report to a designated distribution center in your area to receive an antidote that will protect you. Weekly allotments of this antidote will be provided free of charge for as long as the threat persists. The OCSD expects the terrorists to mount repeated attacks, so it is essential that you take the recommended daily dosage. Compliance is a small price to pay for your safety.
– Counteract

SPOILER: The OCSD is not to be trusted.

Counteract is a Young Adult dystopian novel, and unabashedly so, but it departs from those that I’ve read by setting the story in a world that is recognizably ours. Counteract takes place in 2034, in an America suffering under decades of relentless terrorism and economic malaise. The creation of the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) in 2019 resulted in the creation of a quadrant system, restrictions on the press and social media, restrictions on food distribution, restrictions on sporting events and other large gatherings, abolition of the writ of habeas corpus and Miranda rights, and an unelected bureaucrat becoming more powerful than the president. By 2034 Homeland Security, the TSA, and even OSHA have been folded under its umbrella.

It’s against that backdrop that the OCSD announces the latest threat, and its latest response. It’s kind of a silly threat and response, but the people have been well primed to accept both. Including Careen and Tommy, our protagonists. Careen is a first-year college student who lost her father to a terrorist bombing. Tommy is a local recovering from the accident that robbed him of his parents and shattered his right leg.

It quickly becomes clear to the reader, if not Careen and Tommy, that something is off about the antidote CSD. Careen’s and Tommy’s mild hallucinatory trips on CSD are the best writing of the book, even if they do drag on a bit too long. Eventually Careen and Tommy meet, start to figure out something is amiss, and things really kick off.

Meanwhile, Lawson gives us a glimpse at the wider world (well, the wider American world; this is a country that has become firmly inwardly focused) through Wes, a quadrant marshal and Resistance sleeper agent; Dr. Trina Jacobs, an OCSD employee who gets between the director and his ambitions; Kevin, a lowly OCSD employee who throws in with Jacobs; and Eduardo, a mailman.

Counteract doesn’t do anything revolutionary with the YA dystopian genre. But it stands out for two reasons. One is that the dystopian future it presents seems all too plausible. Lawson has a keen grasp of the ambitions and incompetencies of bureaucrats and the all-too-common irrational and foolish reactions to terrorism by the common people. And she looks all too prescient as 2016 has seen a rash of small-scale terror attacks, most recently in Orlando and Nice. At least we haven’t given massive power to any unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats other than Richard Cordray. The second reason Counteract stands out is Careen and Tommy’s budding relationship, which is both sweet and very real.

Counteract is book 1 in The Resistance Series. Book 3, Ignite, is out tomorrow.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of Counteract from the author.
Profile Image for Caru.
124 reviews158 followers
May 27, 2015
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

My Opinion Of This Book: I absolutely loved it!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

When I first got a message asking if I wanted to review this book, I checked out the GR synopsis and it definitely caught my interest. It sounded unlike anything I've ever read and that's exactly what it turned out to be. I mean, wow, this is such a unique novel. I love its fresh premise and how different it is. This is truly an amazing novel.

The Plot: To briefly tell you what this book is about, basically the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has guarded the United States from all attacks from terrorism for several years, but now there's a threat of airborne chemical weapons that could go off any second. But the OCSD has a solution: an antidote. It's as simple as just three drops of it a day. It's a small price to pay for your safety, or so they say.
Such a fresh, unique premise. I have never read a book like this. It was very intriguing and thought provoking, I was instantly hooked. Also, I've been scrolling down and reading these other reviews and I've read some that say this premise is a "bit far fetched." I disagree, I think this is something that could happen, I actually think it highly to happen one day (or something quite similar). If you just take a while to actually think about it, you'll start to realize that it is something that is definitely possible, which kind of makes it a bit more frightening. Anywho, I definitely loved the plot and how action-packed it was.

The Writing: The writing was another thing I loved. With such a complex premise, you need to have great writing, or else it'll be hard to understand everything..But Tracy Lawson's writing is amazing and easy to understand. I'm an aspiring author and it definitely helps me grow and learn as a writer by reading such great works of literature with fabulous writing.

Careen: (Yay a character's name that's derived from my name!) Anyway, Careen is our lead character. I really liked her and I loved the growth she showed throughout the book. Finally a character who isn't naive! Careen is intelligent, and I loved the fact that from the start she was questioning things, I liked how she wasn't like, "Oh it's no big deal! Let me just take this antidote!" I also loved how she wasn't immature, she knew how to handle situations, and she was a relatable character.

Tommy: Tommy was another of our main characters. I also really liked him, although he did have his moments. But there was only a few occasions where he acted immature and wasn't focused. But overall, I loved him. He can be pretty adorable too.

This book was amazing and I would definitely consider it one of my all time favorites. I'd recommend this to anyone.
Profile Image for Brian's Book Blog.
732 reviews55 followers
August 27, 2016
For more reviews like this check out Brian's Book Blog

Counteract is a great addition to any YA Dystopian's bookshelf.

4.5 out of 5

The world is much safer than it was 15 years ago, at least that's what the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense would like you to think. There are basically no freedoms and you are watched at every turn. Now, the OCSD wants to "protect the citizens" by coming up with an antidote to the poison that terrorists are releasing randomly into the atmosphere. Needless to say, things aren't all that they seem.

Counteract was narrated by Sarah Rogers, who has a really nice younger female voice which works perfectly with the protagonist of the novel. A few times I felt like she sounded too young/childish, but that was only for scenes that were dealing with the adult antagonist characters in the book. Overall, I felt like Rogers did a wonderful job and I was happy to listen to a book I had already read to see how it would sound (and what would change listening to someone else read it to me).

Counteract is a really nice addition to the young adult/YA Dystopian scene. The characters were well hashed out and incredibly likable. I'm always happy when an author (especially a new/indie one) can write such strong characters that drive the rest of the book. There are numerous antagonists that Careen and others must fight against, and they are really well described. You definitely find yourself rooting for Careen throughout.

Following the two main characters, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Another trait that is rare in a first book in a series. Usually, I can tell within the first 100 pages how the story is going to end (or not end). This book had me surprised around every corner. Lawson is going to be one of those authors to watch in the near future for sure.

Overall, the story was enticing and enthralling enough to be enjoyed by an adult, but I could really see the draw for a YA. It's always great when YA stories can be enjoyed by adults and young adults. I think that the writing was aimed more at young adults (there were a few times that I felt like things were simplified for a younger reader), but this didn't take away from the story at all.

I don't know if this will be the next Hunger Games or Divergent, but it has the qualities to become something that strong.
Profile Image for cRistina.
33 reviews15 followers
January 6, 2015
This mostly believable dystopian thriller creates a chilling picture of a government that goes above and beyond to protect its citizens from terrorism. Book one in the Resistance Series does an excellent job at reeling readers in. It’s fast paced, edgy, and ends with a mega cliffhanger… though the constant change in POVs can give whiplash.

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) has their hands full. They single handedly react and take down any threat the nation faces and further ensure safety through the use of the long list of Civilian Restrictions they’ve created. They have even eradicated sporting events, travel, social media, cash transactions, driver’s licenses, and grocery stores, all in the name of the nation’s safety! Imagine what the OCSD will do now that there is a new threat: airborn chemical weapons that can be activated at any given time. Why provide the antidote to the masses of course!

All appears to be going according to the OCSD’s plan until an antidote delivery truck fails to complete deliveries. Careen and Tommy, two strangers, soon find themselves a few doses short in the midst of a high terrorist alert. As their world closes in on them, they soon discover that perhaps a few drops a day is too steep a price to pay for safety.


The premise is offbeat and exciting, albeit not exactly new. Lawson’s story telling makes an impact, after you get used to the constant changes in POVs. Initially, I was annoyed with the constant switch in storytellers, but over time I grew to appreciate the different perspectives offered. It was definitely something to get used to. Extremist much? Sure, I can see how a government division can come to hold too much power, but to be overcome so quietly? That the public had become THAT complacent did not mesh well with me. The antidote’s effects also had me reeling. Luckily, the novel’s plotlines and likable characters allowed me to overlook this. Careen and Tommy are fun, multi-layered college students who end up doing more than they ever imagined to help the public take their lives back.

Overall, Counteract is well written, entertaining, and has twists and turns that are both surprising and welcomed. Definitely looking forward to the second in the series.

*** This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. ***
Profile Image for Cranky - The Book Curmudgeon.
2,089 reviews148 followers
March 10, 2015
****4 Cranky Stars

The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has guarded the public against the rampant threat of terrorism for the last fifteen years with the full backing of the US government. Their carefully crafted list of Civilian Restrictions means no concerts or sporting events, no travel, no social media, no cash transactions, and no driver's licenses for eighteen-year-olds Tommy and Careen. The OCSD has even outlawed grocery stores, all in the name of safety.

Now, there's a new threat-airborne chemical weapons that could be activated at any time. But the OCSD has an antidote: Just three drops a day is all it takes to stay safe. It's a small price to pay for safety.

Or is it...

I've never been so happy to not believe in conspiracy theories. This was a difficult book for me to read because I was constantly asking myself "what if?"

The author takes you into the not so distant future of a terrified United States. Many sanctions have been placed upon the people and now they're being controlled by a power hungry madman. Some unlikely people ban together to form the resistance.

This book jumps around a lot between characters and situation. It read like a TV series but I still found it difficult to put down. I'm looking forward to the next book as the author leaves you hanging at the end.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves conspiracy, action and very real characters.

4 stars from this reviewer.

Profile Image for Jourdan.
41 reviews
October 3, 2018
Such an incredible read! Loved every second of it and can not wait to start the next book! Really makes you think about when others tell you what's best for you without explaining why...
Profile Image for Elizabeth C.
96 reviews1 follower
July 20, 2017
Very Enjoyable!

This book is fast paced and has relatable characters. I had a great time reading it and I'm ready for the next book!
31 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2017

Interesting concept. At first the characters are confusing. As the book developed the plot becomes interesting... You begin to understand maybe it could happen.
Profile Image for Victoria.
116 reviews41 followers
February 1, 2015
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this book. The novel is based in the United States in the not so distant future. There's a new thing in the government, the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD), which was created to help fight against terrorists and keep the people of the US safe from them.

The story seems to jump right into something from the first page. There's an alert, and people find out that there are toxic poisons in the air released from terrorists and they needed to get the antidote, CSD, and take it daily or they would risk death. They talk about it being a "small price to pay for your safety." This is when I knew something wouldn't be right about this, and it drew me into the story even more.

This novel is very intricate with a variety of characters. The perspective changes throughout the novel between several of them This gives the reader a full view of all that is going on. As a reader, I learned so much about the OCSD from both the inside and out, and I got to see the way each of the characters' thoughts changed throughout the novel which helped me understand all of their actions, regardless of my thoughts about them.

The two main characters were interesting to get to learn about. I enjoyed seeing their changes throughout the novel. Careen is a feisty girl, but when she does what she is told, take her CSD, there's a complete change in who she is. It's honestly crazy that the OCSD has enough power in the novel to incorporate something like this into the daily lives of the entire population, and it's scary to think of it happening to our country.

Tommy on the other hand is pretty down in the beginning of the novel, having lost his parents and injuring his leg, but he seems to get a grasp on himself as the novel progresses. Seeing both Careen and him on CSD made me angry at their government, and I was ecstatic when things went awry and they couldn't take any for a few days. They were able to clear their heads, and they realized what was going on. This is when I feel the story really picked up because they sprang into action.

The other perspectives I found really intriguing were Kevin and Trina. I loved getting to see the inner workings of the OCSD and the corruption throughout it. They learn about the awful things their director is planning on doing, and they begin discretely working toward eradicating this issue before it's too late.

It was really interesting getting to see all the changes that Lawson made to the US throughout her novel. It takes place much sooner than most novels, only about 20 years, and because of that, all that was happening in her world resonated with me on a different level than most dystopian novels located in the US. Some things are definitely the same, kids go to college, they have cell phones to communicate, etc, but there were also drastic changes that shocked me. People stopped shopping outside of the home entirely, and air travel became restricted. It's a little difficult for me to picture this happening now, since in the novel it happens in 4 years. Then again, I can also understand it in this circumstance to a level because the nation does crazy things when threatened by terrorists.

Overall, Lawson created a terrifying concept that shows the epitome of corruption and the thirst for absolute power over an entire population. I honestly can't wait to get the next book in this series. I hope certain things happen in the next novel that are good for the characters, though I also know there will be plenty more things that don't go the way I want them to for Careen and Tommy.
November 29, 2014
This review originally appeared on my blog www.gimmethatbook.com.

Many thanks to Tracy Lawson for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Careen is heading to her university class one Friday in 2034 when disaster sirens blare. There is general confusion:

A frightened crowd gathered outside the university’s student center, pressing toward the doors and shouting over the siren. Careen fought to keep her balance in the undulating mob. The shrieking siren stopped abruptly, and in the unnerving silence, phones all around her pinged with incoming messages. She dug hers out of her back pocket.

“Campus alert. Shut up—it’s a campus alert.” The murmurs spread and seemed to calm the crowd. Hundreds of phones played the voice message in near unison, magnifying the audio so it was easily heard:

“Moments ago, the Office of Civilian Safey and Defense confirmed that a chemical weapons attack against the United States is imminent. Terrorists have released a latent cocktail of poisons into the atmosphere, where it can remain, inert, until such time as they choose to detonate it. You are directed to report to a designated distribution center in your area to receive an antidote that will protect you. Weekly allotments of this antidote will be provided free of charge for as long as the threat persists. The OSCD expects the terrorists to mount repeated attacks, so it is essential that you take the recommended daily dosage. Compliace is a small price to pay for your safety.”

Every face turned towards the cloudless, blue sky as someone’s sobs cut through the silence.

This dystopian novel starts off with a threat that we can all identify with, and goes on to show that the government has outlawed almost everything that makes us free, in the name of protecting against terrorists. Careen’s father has died in a terrorist attack, and so she is particularly scared. On the other hand, Tommy, whose parents died in a car crash, is recovering from his injuries suffered in that crash and is angry. He feels alone and just wants to die. When he joins forces with Careen and learns about the Resistance, his will to live becomes stronger.

We also read about the happenings behind the scenes at the OSCD, where some employees may not be entirely loyal to the current government regime. There is a particular character that I was very sympathetic to: Dr Trina Jacobs, whose suspicions land her into hot water. Her character was written very well, and I enjoyed how she handled herself against what the OCSD was throwing at her.

Lawson’s description of a future America, broken into quadrants so activity can be monitored better, is a chilling and plausible concept. The incarnation of the OSCD was unnerving, as the bok explained how this department gained so much power and changed the entire face of the nation. Perfect dystopian existence! As I read, I was quite glad that I was not living in Careen and Tommy’s world.

The dialogue is well written and there is suspensful action aplenty as they discover that the government is keeping vital information from them about the terrorist attacks. Who is part of the Resistance? Who can they trust? And what’s REALLY in that antidote? The good guys and the bad guys are not obvious right away, so you have to keep turning pages to see who helps who. The ending leaves things open for the action to be picked up again in the second book (to be published in 2015). I know I’ll be looking forward to what happens next!

Want to enjoy it the same way I did? Get it here!
Profile Image for Holly Storrow.
75 reviews34 followers
August 30, 2016
This review was originally posted on Book Twister ReviewsCounteract 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.**
Profile Image for Charlotte Chavous.
96 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2016
How do I explain this book? For me, I can't do it without getting a little political. That being said, I am not one to push my beliefs on anyone. I will only say just enough to explain how I see the book.

The premise is one that we are actually beginning to see play out in our own politics here in the US. We are beginning to see a government telling us what is best for us, what we should and will start feeding our own children, We are being told who we can and can not sell to as business owners. For me, it hit me in the middle of my chest and deep in my intellectual mind.
Miss Lawson has created a society where the government is already controlling every aspect of the populace's lives. While some may consider that utopia, after all, the majority of the populace is on equal footing. They get the same amount of food. They are able to buy clothing at all the same stores, their food is sent directly to their homes, and terrorist attacks are controlled by the government not allowing public gatherings like concerts and sporting events. Everything is watched on television. But wait, it is actually starting to sound like a dystopian world in reality. Sometimes things look great on paper and in reality turn out to be a real nightmare.
Well, that is what Miss Lawson's story is all about. It's about a world where the government tells you what is best for you. A world where the power has totally corrupted the uppermost echelon. Of course there is a resistance. But it is really about two "sheep" who have realized they are being led to the slaughter and begin their journey to help bring this corruption down.
But Miss Lawson's story is a subtle inch worm working you through each page. You don't realize how much you really want to know what happens next until you realize it is two o'clock in the morning and you need to get up early the next day.
Careen and Tommy are two very different characters who begin to learn how to trust not only each other, but themselves for the first time. While they are learning about the true plans of the government, they are actually learning how to think for themselves. Miss Lawson is so adept at writing, that as I read I found myself becoming Careen and Tommy. I felt the wonder of learning that I could think for myself, the fear that I would actually be caught and killed for thinking for myself, but also the wonder of seeing everything new again. The simple act of processing what is going on around me and deciding on my own how to deal with it all was all brand new through Careen and Tommy's points of view.
I am anxious to see what Miss Lawson has in store for Tommy and Careen in the next book, Resist, due out in a little over 3 weeks.
Lovers of YA and Dystopian reads: this is a book you HAVE GOT to check out!
Profile Image for Judi Easley.
1,395 reviews47 followers
October 30, 2018
The Resistance Series

By Tracy Lawson


28 pages, prequel, Nov 2016, Teen/YA


186 pages, book 1, Oct 2018, Teen/YA


282 pages, book 2, Oct 2018, Teen/YA


269 pages, book 3, Oct 2018, Teen/YA


240 pages, book 4 (final), Oct 2018, Teen/YA

Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook (except the prequel, which is only in Kindle format)

Provided, Author

Sci-fi Dystopian YA


The covers are interesting and present an interesting series. Initially, when looking at them, they don’t appear to be a thriller series of a future dystopian American society that’s about to undergo a coup at the highest level. But that’s exactly what this series is. 2035 better not be this disruptive!

The story is well done. I don’t know how real to life it all is for revolutionists, not ever having been involved in a revolution. But they have their organization and their slip-ups. People get hurt and even killed. This is a serious revolution. Each of our two young heroes, Careen and Tommy, get seriously hurt, shot, and even tortured. There are times when you don’t know who is on which side or which side is good or bad, which I imagine may be authentic to a situation such as this. So many people appeared to know what they were talking about and appeared to be speaking the truth, whether they were or not. People who were in positions of authority and power in the country and law enforcement. But as Hemingway said, power corrupts. It seems to corrupt the weak who can’t stand on their own and have to have something like a title to hold up to show how great they are.

The characters were really well done. Some of them we got to know quite well because we were with them all the way through the book and got to know their quirks and even how they like their coffee. Others just sort of passed through here and there as very minor characters, like Nicole. Poor, scared, Nicole.

The pace was mostly relentless as all five books seemed to barrel towards some horrendous cataclysmic ending. The tension of never quite knowing who was on which side and what would pop out around the next corner kept the tension stretched tight throughout. No rest. No time to catch your breath. Just like the characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series and would strongly recommend it for Young Adult readers of this genre, Political Dystopian Thriller YA with just a touch of young romance thrown in.

Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews60 followers
May 30, 2019
Counteract (The Resistance Series #1)
By: Tracy Lawson

Thank you to
Tracy Lawson, author
For a complimentary copy
All opinions expressed are my own.

I've read a lot of dystopian fiction, some ridiculously far fetched, some slightly possible, but the premise of Counteract is one of very few that actually seems plausible to me.
Picture this: the government tells you that an enemy nation has a"stash" of killer poison gas, and an attack is imminent. But, the government can save you with preemptive measures. It's an antidote, and you must take it every day. You believe them. You take the antidote. Everyday. Without question.
Now, what if something happened in your life to disrupt your daily dose? You don't take it for a few days. You suddenly notice things you never saw before, like the docile mediocrity of everyone, the vacant stares and empty personalities of everyone, the fact that you feel different, better, than a few days ago. You begin to realize the powers that be have lied to everyone. The masses are subdued to best control them, but they are not in imminent danger after all. What would you do? Counteract addresses this type of situation. It's quite chilling because it feels real, like I'm reading it in the newspaper. Government and powerful entities controlling every aspect of our lives is within the scope of plausible futures. They could lie because we would never know. Two brave teenagers wake up and fight back in the story. I like these characters for their strength, intelligence, perseverance and their humanity. This story is a cutting narrative about our doom if we don't wake up. How much control have we already given up? I'm so glad to finally read a dystopian story that I actually believe. It's thought provoking and immersive in so many ways. Read it, and you will question everything. But, I think that would be a good thing.
Profile Image for Tamara.
504 reviews7 followers
November 2, 2014
What if the government controlled every aspect of your life? From the food that you eat, to the programming you watch on television? Every. Single. Aspect. What if the government - the one you trusted so much, tells you that an airborne chemical weapons attack from another nation is imminent and you HAD to take an antidote to counteract the deadly air that MIGHT be coming? Would you question it? And what would you do if you found out that the government - the one thing that you trusted all of your life has LIED? Would you fight back or comply? This is the world that Ms. Lawson has created and it is pure genius! Of course, this is a work of fiction, but something that I could totally see happening in the near future - our future , and this book really will make you think.... what if ?

Counteract is so action-packed and so thought-provoking, I had a difficult time putting it down. The characters are realistic and totally relatable. And the writing? It flowed so effortlessly and was edited so perfectly, I was surprised to learn that this is the author's first novel. {{Insert applause}} If you love Dystopian fiction, then you're going to love this uniquely fresh story that will keep you interested and on the edge of your seat throughout. I really look forward to reading the next installment of this intriguing and thrilling trilogy of corrupted government and the Resistance that wants to bring it all down.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars

Review also posted at The Avid Book Collector
Profile Image for Connie Peck.
Author 6 books2 followers
January 6, 2016
When free will becomes an illusion, the Resistance will rise…
Tracy Lawson

From the first page to the last, I held my breath. Well, maybe not that long. I could be reading this in the news tomorrow. Yeah, it’s that real.

Careen Catecher is a regular college student with grades on her mind – and then the terrorist attacks begin. And it’s the worst possible attack. A deadly poison has been released into the atmosphere. But the good, hardworking and caring government has been preparing for just such an attack. They have developed an antidote for the poison which will protect the citizens. Careen doesn’t think she will get her tiny bottle of life saving fluid in time, but finally she does. Just three drops on the tongue, once a day will protect her.

How relieved she is. So relieved in fact, that her education is no longer a priority. So relieved that the only thing important in her life is those three drops. After all, the government has worked hard to protect her. Compliance is a small price to pay for safety.

Her life is becoming a bed of bubbly roses. But when she meets Tommy, the rosy bubbles fade and show their true colors. Now she and Tommy are up against the world, still trying to stay alive.

I loved every twist and turn of this book. Part thriller, part love story, part survivalist, part fiction, and every bit a very real threat, from a conspiracy theory point of view. I loved the characters, well rounded and believable. I would recommend this book to teens all the way up to elders. The book is well written and the story is ageless. And I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. Three cheers for Tracy Lawson.
Profile Image for Caroline.
Author 6 books56 followers
May 29, 2014
I received an unedited ARC of "Counteract" and changes may have been made since my reading.

"Counteract" is a New Adult Dystopian set in America's future. The book follows a few different characters including a college student named Careen whose father was killed by terrorists when she was a child, a young man named Tommy who's recovering from a car accident that killed his parents, Eduardo - a mailman, Dr. Trina Jacobs and Kevin who both work for the OSCD, the government organization in charge of keeping all citizens safe.

When reports of an airborne chemical attack are released to the public, the OSCD responds with a mandatory antidote for all citizens to take to keep them safe from the attack. As long as you take your daily treatment you will be safe from the terrorists.

When Eduardo fails to deliver the new vials of the drug to multiple homes, including Tommy's, Careen and Tommy begin to question the need for the antidote.

I don't want to give too much away, but I really enjoyed this book. I pretty much knew what was happening the whole time but I didn't know what the end game would be. I had a hard time connecting with Careen in the beginning of the story, but ultimately I grew to like all of the characters. The ending is pretty epic and now I have to wait until FOREVER to read the second book in the series!

4 Stars. A great dystopian about a corrupt government in the future. ;)
Profile Image for Billy Buttons.
Author 19 books103 followers
April 22, 2016
This book was recently entered and was a FINALIST in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:

Title: Counteract
Author: Tracy Lawson
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 25

Of the 25 readers:
Editing 9/10
Style 10/10
Cover 10/10
Plot 9/10
Total 38/40

24 would read another book by this author.
14 thought the plot was the best part of the book.
25 thought the cover was good or excellent.
11 thought the setting was the best part of the book.
8 likened it to The Hunger Games.

Readers’ Comments
‘This was an excellent book. I liked Tommy and Careen very much and I enjoyed following them as they struggle with the government. I thought the ending was fab! Really exciting. It reminded me a little of Hunger Games but, to be honest, I thought this was even better.’ Girl, aged 16
‘Cool plot and lots happening. This is my sort of book.’ Boy, aged 15
‘Started slow but got much better. I loved the futuristic setting. It was really well described. But, in fact, the characters were the most interesting from the evil Quadrant Master to the hero. I will read the rest.’ Boy, aged 14
‘The best book in the awards.’ Girl, aged 13
‘I think this author understands what teenagers want to read. After the first few chapters it got really fast-paced.’ Girl, aged 14

‘A fast-paced thriller. Perfect for any fans of The Hunger Games!’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Profile Image for Brian's Book Blog.
732 reviews55 followers
December 30, 2015
Counteract is a great addition to any YA Dystopian’s bookshelf.

4.5 out of 5

Counteract is a really nice addition to the young adult/YA Dystopian scene. The characters were well hashed out and incredibly likable. I’m always happy when an author (especially a new/indie one) can write such strong characters that drive the rest of the book. The antagonist in this being the entire system that they are fighting against is well described too. It’s definitely a “character” that is incredibly hard to like.

Following the two main characters, I wasn���t sure what was going to happen. Another trait that is rare in a first book in a series. Usually I can tell within the first 100 pages how the story is going to end (or not end). This book had me surprised around every corner. Lawson is going to be one of those authors to watch in the near future for sure.

Overall, the story was enticing and enthralling enough to be enjoyed by an adult, but I could really see the draw for a YA. It’s always great when YA stories can be enjoyed by adults and young adults.

I don’t know if this will be the next Hunger Games or Divergent, but it has the qualities to become something that strong.
Profile Image for Devon.
42 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2016
When I first started this book, I was really confused by the different view points. But, as I kept reading I loved how I would see the characters develop together and longitudinally rather than just alone.
Careen is a crack up, everything she does I can picture my sassy self doing and I loved reading about her, she isn't a one dimensional female hero but she also isn't just a pretty face. That is all I ever ask of a character and she gave it to me.
Something about the way this is written really clicked with me later on. I kept wanting to see more of the characters and as the story went on, I was able to! I just hope that the next book is as thrilling as this.

I think that this is a fun quick read and I feel very blessed that the author sent the book to me in return for an honest review. As an avid reader I look for books that make me think and make me want to learn more about the characters. Counteract did that for me, it is dystopian without going extremely deep into a "destroyed world" or a corrupt government. It leaves a lot of room for growth and I am more than ready to read more.

If Tracy keeps writing books like this, I am not going to ever finish the reading for school that I've been putting off.
Profile Image for Ann.
37 reviews4 followers
July 23, 2014
Counteract is a fast paced, analytical thriller about  a nation and it's people in the brink of destruction. In the beginning we meet Careen and Tommy college students who don't know each other but will be brought together because of terrorists threats.

They both drink a formula of sorts which was said to keep them safe.The action starts from there and minor and supporting characters we have to get to know while reading. The story is not so brand new, and I admit I must have encountered similar ones before but Tracy put her own twist to it that made the story exciting.

It feels weird these people had to go through this sort of martial law, I can only imagine how it must have been hard for them not being able to do certain things because the government forbids. Careen and Tommy will be faced with many challenges and they will need to work together to overcome them, with some help from a few people of course.

As always Tracy Lawson surely gave her best in this book, you will never get bored with it and craftsmanship is evident through her words and pacing. I can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Patrick Hodges.
Author 48 books119 followers
May 13, 2016
With a plot that hits dangerously close to home, a plot that involves a corrupt government attempting to control its citizens through fear and manipulation (seriously - can't you see Trump cooking something like this up beneath that toupee?), Counteract is a fast-paced story that will have turning pages from beginning to end.

There are numerous shifts in the story as we travel from character to character. The main characters, I suppose, are teenager Careen and Tommy, who connect with each other when they determine that the "antidote" to the "terrorist attacks" (big finger quotes on that last one) that the government uses to addle the people is not the live-protecting serum they claim it is. Both of them learn, to their dismay, the lengths the government - and, most especially, the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense, is willing to go to keep its secret... well, a secret.

As I said, this is a very fast-paced book. The frequent jumps in POV were initially a little jarring and it kept me from connecting with the characters at first, but as the threads came together, it resulted in a satisfying conclusion.

On to the next book in the series!
Profile Image for Jenni Crawford.
152 reviews1 follower
October 7, 2016
***Review has been gifted in exchange for my honest opinion and on behalf of Kats Book Promotions/ Katsindiebookblog.*** This is a dystopia thriller at its best. The US as you know it now, no longer exists. Instead of states, you are in a quadrant. Instead of a president, you have a Quadrant Master. With an imminent threat lurking around the corner causing airborne attacks, the government created an antidote to ward off the threat. Or is this just all a ploy to find out how loyal and willing you are towards the government?
In the beginning you immediately get to know the main characters of the story. I was slightly confused in the beginning, however the more I read, the easier it became to read. I was curious as to why you kept on jumping from character to character, but you quickly understand why that is the case. These characters are all linked in some form of fashion. You will just have to read to find out how.
You will be kept on your toes with this fast paced story. When you think you have something figured out, think again. Easy answers are not in here. You will not be disappointed with this story!
Profile Image for Undeniably Addicted to Books.
97 reviews3 followers
March 21, 2015
This is an easy read dystopian novel that hooked me from the get go. The fast pace kept me reading and needing more, learning how the OCSD and Government were wielding power, and how acts happened between the two organizations.

Two strangers; Tommy and Careen, find each other in a happenstance manner picking up their antidotes for a chemical threat. We follow along as these two fight to find out what is going on, and how they help themselves despite all the boundaries and barriers set in place by the current government.

If you’re interested in dystopian novels, then I urge you to pick this one up, if you’re not, then I still urge you to pick this one up! This book is edgy, and fast paced, bringing to light conspiracy elements, and leaves you feeling like you’re along for the ride from page one to ‘the end.’


(Copy provided in exchange for an honest review.)
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