I’ve raided the archives for this book review. Recently, lots of pupils have been reading the Divergent or Maze Runner series and wanting something similar to read. This is a lesser known dystopian novel which I think deserves more attention.
It was the concept that made me pick the book up. Set in an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease and the government forces everyone to undergo a procedure, the Cure, when they reach the age of 18. Nobody can fall in love but on the positive side, it’s a harmonious place to live, there are no wars and people feel safe. Lena, who lives with her Aunt and Uncle, is genuinely looking forward to being cured and meeting her life match. As a small child she watched as her Mother was destroyed by love and is determined that this will not happen to her. However, with 95 days left before her treatment, Lena meets Alex, a boy from the Wilds who has not had the Cure and they fall in love.
Lena is terrified to follow in the footsteps of her mother but concludes that love is more than a disease. As the story progresses, we see her character evolve. She quite easily moves from being afraid and obedient to taking risks and telling lies. I loved the contrast between Lena and her rebellious best friend Hana. I was moved that a consequence of the treatment wiould be the loss of their close relationship.
At the beginning of each chapter, you find out more about the world they inhabit thanks to excerpts from the book of rules, The Book of SHHH. There is so much of their world that is unexplored here and as we near the end of this book, we realise that this is just the start the story. There are two more books in the trilogy, each as action-packed and thrilling as the first.
Other dystopian reads you might consider:
Matched by Allie Condie; Gone by Michael Grant; The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard; The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken; The Selection by Kiera Cass; The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness; 1984 by George Orwell; Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman; Unwind by Neal Shusterman; Slated by Teri Terry. All great books and available in the library for all to read.