For the first time in my life I actually feel sorry for Carol. I’m only seventeen years old, and I already know something she doesn’t know: I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point—the only point—is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.
First of all, this obviously came out when dystopian was “the” trend in YA. Knowing that, I thought that this specific concept was genius! Love is certainly a very complicated thing and has and will continue to cause problems between people until the end of time. So in my eyes, it seems like a logical thing for a group of people to think to eradicate the emotion because of the trauma it can cause and I can also see how in doing that, society would have gone down the drain.
“You can’t be really happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes. You know that, right?”
In this book we are introduced to the main characters Lena and Hana, best friends who are seemingly opposite in nearly every sense, just months away from becoming eighteen and getting the procedure that will take away their ability to love and prevent them from ever becoming “infected.” They are placed in a university and will then pursue a career based on their abilities or are immediately married to a match that has been chosen for them (pretty bleak if you ask me). On the day of their Examination (the tests taken to determine the above) an Invalid, or rather person from the “outside” world that hasn’t had the cure—and refuses to, lets in a bunch of cows and disrupts her exam much to Lena’s relief. As the chaos unfurls, she looks up and sees a boy about her age laughing at the mess, something about him sticking out to her. Obviously the two end up running into each other again and *gasp* eventually fall in love.
One of my favorite things about this book is how the characters are portrayed. At first Lena can honestly be kind of annoying until you realize that the reason for this is that she’s exhibiting real, honest-to-God emotions. She’s been a rule follower her entire life and is scared when those rules are threatened (mostly by Hana’s wild personality and then feelings for Alex of course). As a reader I wanted her to just loosen up but that is exactly how I would have been at that age, in that kind of a setting. Most young women in YA books aren’t like that. They’re either too perfect or too quirky to truly relate to and that’s kind of BS when you think about it.
My second favorite thing about this book was the relationship between Lena and Alex. I loved how she came to the realization that she had been basically sleeping her entire life until meeting him. Meeting him was like waking up, and truly seeing things for the first time. THE FEEEEEELSSSSS. Sigh. Alex was just so wonderful. And that ending, too. So glad to have discovered the books after they were all out so I didn’t have to wait in agony until book two.
This is just honestly such a gripping book and seeing as I’ve been in a weird dystopian phase lately, I’m so glad to be rereading it.
I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.