Book Review: The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

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Published in Australia on the 4th August 2020 by A&U Children’s, an imprint of Allen & Unwin.

Australian RRP: $19.99

ISBN: 9781760525057

Purchase Links:


Angus & Robertson:


Amazon AU:

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian, Psychological Thriller.

Page Count: 336

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Allen & Unwin

A brilliant psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.I wake up, and for a few precious seconds I don’t realise there’s anything wrong.
The rumble of tyres on bitumen, and the hiss of air conditioning. The murmur of voices. The smell of air freshener. The cool vibration of glass against my forehead.
A girl wakes up on a self-driving bus. She has no memory of how she got there or who she is. Her nametag reads CECILY. The six other people on the bus are just like her: no memories, only nametags. There’s a screen on each seatback that gives them instructions. A series of tests begin, with simulations projected onto the front window of the bus. The passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed, and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom – she’s fighting for her life.

The acclaimed author of After the Lights Go Out returns with another compelling YA thriller – a timely novel about the intensity and unpredictability of human behaviour under pressure.

‘Clever and compelling, this ethics-driven thrill ride will have you racing through in search of answers while it challenges your moral compass.’ – Sarah Epstein

My Review:

I received a finished copy of The Erasure Initiative from Allen & Unwin Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

The Erasure Initiative was absolutely spectacular! I absolutely loved every moment of this completely and utterly unputdownable thril ride of a page turner! I definitely want to read Lili Wilkinson’s other books now, truthfully I feel slightly speechless after that wild ending! Right from the get-go, I honestly had no idea which way everything was going to turn for Cecily, who at the start of this book finds herself awoken on a bus with six supposed strangers, with no recollection who she is!

Fascinating and wholly intriguing premise, right? I definitely haven’t read anything like it before in such a long time! Initially though, it did give me slight Whisper and Weapon vibes (if you haven’t read the duology by Lynette Noni, get on it!) but I knew as soon as I started reading The Erasure Initiative, that this was going to be a gripping, atmospheric ride with intrigue and suspense at every turn!

I always enjoy a hard hitting novel that will completely not only keep one guessing, but oh has it been a long while that made me question my morals! See, throughout The Erasure Initiative, when Cecily and company are on the bus and trying to figure out what’s going on, let alone who they are, they find they’re on the receiving ends of various simulations, essentially having to decide who won’t get hit by a bus! In addition, as the reader learns more about the origins and purposes behind The Erasure Initiative, I found myself wondering about a certain niche of people and debating if they’re truly able to reform from previously evil ways!

The characters within The Erasure Initiative were such a fascinating array to read about too! Even more so because they didn’t completely know who they are, with Cecily often wondering what her normal life was like prior to waking up on the bus, wondering how she might be connected to some of these other strangers, namely Paxton and Nia. She feels inexplicably drawn to both of them and I really loved reading about her undeniable chemistry with Nia especially (not going to lie, Paxton read like a bit of an airhead to me, so I didn’t really care for his dynamic with Cecily, namely because Cecily was clearly more drawn to Nia!). With fragments of Cecily’s memories coming back to her, scenes that certainly err on the more dark and worrisome and certainly traumatic side (we’re talking being taken into a closet, hearing a baby’s cry, noticing lots of blood, that sort of thing), I really found myself completely intrigued as to all of the reveals!

The pacing and twists and turns of this book completely had me on tender hooks throughout, honestly! The concept of The Erasure Initiative and its moral grounds made for a completely new, raw and unique reading experience for me, too! I completely urge everyone to pick up a copy of this brilliant, outstanding and perpetually mind blowing book, I promise it’ll keep you wondering and guessing right until the end! It’s a stand alone too, so I’m completely lamenting that it’s likely that we won’t be getting a sequel! Though I definitely cannot wait to read more of Lili Wilkinson’s books!

Happy Reading,


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