Author: Mary E. Pearson
Published: 2009 Pages: 265
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Whew, not even going to attempt to summarize the plot. I really think it's best if you go into this book with absolutely no clue what's going on. As Amy over at My Friend Amy says "this book is best left unspoiled."
What can I say about a book that has been reviewed so many times? Not a whole heck of a lot. Carrie K over at Books and Movies said she didn't want to put the book down once she started it, and I was the same way. I finished the book in one two and a half hour sitting. Then again, this is not unusual for me as I am very much a one-sitting type of reader. I prefer to finish a book the same day I pick it up, drawing it out over days or weeks is almost painful for me.
Becky from Becky's Book Reviews thinks the book is "one of the most original and amazing coming-of-age stories that I've read in quite a while". Raych over at Books I Done Read seems to agree when she says the story "ate her face". My thoughts on the story? Eh. I know, I know, I'm terrible. But nothing in this book surprised me. Nothing. I had an idea of the "issue" by page 6, and I flat out knew the issue the moment Bio Gel was mentioned. I knew what was coming with the things in the closet, with Dane, with Allys, with the thing at the very very end that ties together the whole Lily-Claire-Jenna thingamabobber. Hmm...hard to talk about what you knew when you don't want others who haven't read the book to know about these things. :) Anyway, the point is that while I found the story interesting, it held almost no surprises, so I wasn't as thrilled with it as others seem to be.
Over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading?, Trish comments that what is great about this book is that it makes you think. The book does raise some serious issues like the lengths parents will go to protect their children, the lengths children will go to please their parents, self-control, what it means to be alive, etc. I have to say though that I don't feel the book actually explored any of these themes in depth; they were just sort of there. This was not, to me, a very philosophical sort of text. Those issues were entirely secondary to the plot; the plot was not created to explore them like I feel it was in books like American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
One thing I did really enjoy about the book that I haven't seen anyone else mention is the inclusion of short "chapters" written like poetry from a journal entry. These one page sections are printed on a darker background than the rest of the book, and they, for me, were the most thematically charged portions of the book. One example:
I needed it like I needed air.
But no one could hear me.
No one could listen.
No words. No sound.
I couldn't even dream myself away.
Choices were made.
None of them mine.
At first I wondered if it was hell.
And then I knew it was.
All in all, I enjoyed this book, but I'm not exactly in thrall with it. I did, however, feel it was a new sort of YAL for me as it felt older, more mature than a lot of the YAL I've read in the past.
Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, YA Reading Challenge, 42 Challenge,