Series: The Glimpse #1Although I realise that this book is a dystopia and that the 'Crazies' and 'Pures' system is supposed to be terrible, the classification of mental disorders this way really bugged me right from the start. Yes, dystopia is terrifying and horrible. Yes, authors explore ways in which society can fail. But it has to be believable, and the story has to be sellable for the readers.
Publisher: Faber & Faber Children's
Source: ARC from NetGalley
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears. Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.
The Glimpse? Not so much.
The Society's so-called 'Big 3'--the three main mental illnesses that will land you a lifetime as an outcast--are schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. I have struggled with anxiety-related problems, and let me inform you that I'm safe to be around. I can't see why, in a future where technology is so advanced and that they've developed DNA testing for mental illnesses, scientists can't control or cure mental illnesses. Right now, we have anti-depressants and therapy. We don't, however, have any form of real DNA testing for things like anxiety issues (how are you even supposed to test for that? Also, depression can be seasonal), because we want to focus on making people feel better so that they can be functioning members of society, instead of casting them out as Crazies or loonies.
Depression can be chemical based, and anxiety can be due to environmental factors. A child who grows up in a healthy, happy, and loving family is far less likely to develop mental issues than a child who grows up in an abusive household--and that's a reality. How are you supposed to test for that in a person's DNA? What about seasonal depression? Some of the things in this story simply don't make sense, but I'll move on.
I found this book initially very hard to get into. The author's writing was nice and smooth sometimes, but you'd get sentences once in a while that. Stopped like that. Particularly in descriptive scenes. It made the writing feel vaguely disjointed. And my stream of thought would just get cut off. It was really quite frustrating.
Short, snappy sentences are excellent for dramatic effect. Used too often, however, and you end up with the reader headdesking.
I actually found the plot--mental illness/Crazies/Pures aside--quite engaging. Although Ana (like many other YA paranormal/dystopian romance heroines) had the issue of making spur-of-the-moment issues that had no real basis in fact, the adventures were quite engaging and I was interested in seeing what this New England was like. I did like the setting and I did like some of the more complex characters including Ana's father, but Ana and Jasper did not hold my interest.
Despite being a rather large hater of love triangles, it wasn't taken to an unbearable degree in this story. For people who like love triangles, jump onto this book--chances are that this'll be right up your alley.
I hear that there will be a second book in the series although it isn't showing up on Goodreads, but I don't think I will be reading the second novel even if there is one. The author wraps up the story nicely leaving little unanswered material, and since there's nothing I detest more than cliffhangers, I have to applaud the author for it. Overall, this book wasn't really to my taste but wasn't completely terrible either, so it gets two stars from me.
An e-galley of the book was provided for review purposes (and received with thanks!) but did not influence this review in any way.