What I love about dystopian novels is their ability to make us look at ourselves and what the world can become if we’re not willing to change—and author Victoria Foyt gets the reader to do exactly that. The premise of a post-apocalyptic world where, after a “Great Meltdown,” humans with lighter skin, aka Pearls, are at the bottom of the caste/class system due to a lack of melanin to protect them from the radiation given off by the overheated sun. Pearls are considered the lowest of the low and ugly, which makes it hard for them to survive, since due to limited resources and a government mandate, women must mate by their 18th birthday and men by their 24th or 25th.
The main character, Eden Newman, is on the verge of her 18th and desperate to find a mate so she can survive. Since she’s in a secret relationship with a highly desirable man of a dark skinned race, aka the Coals, Eden hopes that she may have a chance, until a betrayal and misunderstanding throws her entire world into chaos.
I related to Eden very well and loved figuring things out at the same she did during the book. She grows immensely throughout, learning to accept herself and realize that she is actually beautiful. And in a world where true love seems to be a myth, she discovers that it may actually exist. The plot is well-crafted and extremely unique, and all the characters are believable.
The descriptions in the book are amazing and thorough, yet enjoyable to read and don’t overload you. The elements of tension are incredible, which is what I think makes it such a page turner. It was hard not to think about how horrifying society could easily become—a world of extreme racism and danger caused by a deteriorated environment.