Teenage girls will become the most valuable commodity in the world.
Sixteen-year-old Melody has grown up her whole life knowing her only purpose will be to "bump" with a total stranger and give birth to a baby she'll never see so he/she can grow up in someone else's home. Her conception contract with the Jaydens has been signed for years, so why hasn't she had a baby yet?
Harmony lives in Goodside, where God and hard work are the focus of every day. The women must veil their faces and be married by 13 so they can begin having children. Their society is closed to outsiders, and their contact with Otherside is strictly prohibited. But when Harmony asks too many questions about the Bible and the real purpose of marriage, the community gives her a rude awakening.
That's when she runs away...to find her long lost twin sister, Melody.
Ok, so, this book is very disturbing on so many levels. I cannot even tell you how many times I was thoroughly disgusted by...well, just about everything in this book. Sex is seemingly the main topic of this book and everyone regards it with nonchalance, from pre-teens trying on padding to see what a baby bump will look like to masSEX parties where everyone tries to get pregnant at the same time.
See? Disgusting and offensive.
But...the author is doing it on purpose. The human race has a long way to go until we get to the point where we sell our daughters' bodies to the highest bidder, but I pray it never even comes close to that! In the same vein, I pray we'll never get to the point where our kids are sent to an arena to kill each other.
The author did a fantastic job with the growth and maturity of her characters. I was so impressed that I could have such strong negative feelings for someone at the beginning of the book, and by the end, I wanted to give them a hug. I was also very impressed with the technological advances the author creates. McCafferty may have just inspired the next big thing in social networking.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this book was that it turned out to be a love story in the end. Not simply romantic love, but also the love and friendship between two sisters.
While I can't recommend this book to anyone who is as sensitive as I am about the topics of love, sex, child bearing and adoption, I can say that I enjoyed it in the end. This is certainly a new twist on Dystopia.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 26, 2011)
- Source: The Publisher (via NetGalley)