A simple test can tell you whether you’re going to develop one of the BIG3 – Schizophrenia, Depression, or Anxiety. Ariana’s DNA test labelled her as a Pure – designed to marry a Pure boy and have Pure offspring. However it turns out that her DNA result was faked, and now she’s relying on Jasper to keep her safe in the Community. When he disappears, Ana has to find him before it’s too late for her as well.
I grabbed this from the library this school holidays and it was a light, quick read that was strangely compelling. I say strangely, because the plotting was really quite thin, and half the time Ana didn’t act in a sensible manner at all. Her being able to hold her breath under the water for a long period of time was somehow an important plot point that was used more than once.
I was drawn to this novel because I’m keen on both genetics and mental health. A future where we have identified some of the genes responsible for people developing mental illnesses is really likely, and is probably sooner than most people realise. And I fully expect that it could cause a divide between ‘crazy’ people and ‘normal’ people. But the fact that they just expect having a gene to cause a mental illness? That’s a total fraud – there’s lots of other factors that are important such as epigenetics, Barr bodies and environmental triggers. Depression and Anxiety are huge, but I wouldn’t consider Schizophrenia that common (although it is one of the most debilitating mental illnesses out there).
I didn’t get why Ana was so special. She’s way too excited about !boys! and not enough about, I don’t know, actually saving other people? She’s so shallow and irritating, and her thought processes totally don’t make sense. What put me off as well was a four year old being so suicidal that they would jump in a river. I guess that should come with a spoiler alert. And then the fact that someone claims to see the future? That took it from barely plausible to hopeless.
I didn’t understand why the Mental Clinics even existed. If people go into them, and don’t ever come out, why don’t they just kill those inside? Harsh of me, but honestly. If it’s all about the money, why bother even testing anything out on them, especially if really poor records are kept? Everyone knows science doesn’t work like that!
Ultimately it’s just another dystopian novel where people have been relatively arbitrarily sorted into the City and the Community to create an elite. If you’re looking for a weaker version of: The Wind Singer, Uglies, or Disruption, this is the right novel for you. I finished it, but I became less and less involved in it as I went along. 3 stars from me.