The Hurt Circuit by S. K. Atkins
Sometimes you need to lose everything to reach for your dreams.
There’s just one thing on the mind of Calen Firth-Shelby, the nineteen-year-old former snowboarding hot shot, girls magnet and political prodigy, who came in last place on the Hurt Circuit four years ago: surviving long enough on the Baffin-Chain (a man-made prison island which is infested by cannibals) to prevent his siblings, twins Stella and Paul, from suffering the same fate.
In the not-so-far future, the mega-rich live in constant fear: the “Suburban Tribes” that emerged from years of extremely violent global riots are more or less successfully kept out of the major cities and the state-of-the-art mountain enclaves of the most influential billionaire families. But the greatest threat comes from within. First it came in the form of the catastrophic “Billionaire-Wars”, now it disguises itself as ubiquitous, highly intrusive surveillance technologies, as complex corporate lawsuits/espionage – and as the Hurt Circuit.
While the super-billionaires are racing each other to expand their conglomerates beyond Earth, their teenage children are transported to middle schools situated in enemy territories, to stay there for one year as hostages. There, on the Hurt Circuit, the teenagers have to complete dangerous assignments which often result in gruesome injuries and casualties. They are also exposed to a great deal of bullying from their peers: embarrassing secrets are gleefully dissected by obscure HC councils, and the inevitable suicides are covered up as unfortunate mishaps. The winners and their families are rewarded with even more money and a worldwide celebrity-status, while the losers are quickly hidden away by their disappointed families. If they are lucky.
Calen isn’t even that lucky. Tethering between life and death and unaware that he’s still on the Hurt Circuit, albeit on a secret level, he breaks out of prison. However, his reappearance in high society not only triggers assassins to come after him, but also opens old wounds in family members and childhood friends.