The writing is smooth, unpredictable and surprising... thought provoking at its best!
First, I'd like to point out that you should definitely not judge a book by its cover, blurb or summary. Everything about this story has a deeper meaning. The author touches upon topics that have been discussed in the news but are taboo to discuss at the dinner table - controlling governments, corporate greed, and hidden poverty. I applaud her efforts for combining these topics into a young adult novel.
Thalia Apple lives in a futuristic world where everything is completely computerized and food doesn't exist. Everyone drinks a 'formula' that fits their own needs, some water and every 6 months gets their shots to suppresses any hunger pains and physical emotions. Physical contact of any sort is almost unheard of, and speaking of things about the past, especially food, is against the law. Why reminisce about the past, a past that cannot be changed or revisited, it's too depressing to even think of pre-war days especially when "One World" has progressed so much and haves everything that you can ever want and more for your future needs. That is until Thalia starts to hear this growling noise coming from her midsection, and starts to feel this pressure in her abdomen. Could she possibly be hungry?
Let's backtrack a bit... Thalia is a teen surrounded by amazing technology that most tech-geeks dream about inventing. And yet, she is completely unamused and rather go sit with her grandmother, learn how to knit by hand and talk about how her grandparents where apple farmers prior to the war. It was a bit hard to believe how a teen was not interested in such a prominent technology filled world - she prefers actual fabrics and books than synthetic fibers and tablets. But later on we learn that she's a computer whiz, a hacker and that the technology seems boring to her. She's curious about how things were, how humans survived without such technological advances... how humans did things by hand, and even used the bathroom. And when she realizes that what she's feeling is legitimately what humans are suppose to feel - it's human nature to want to eat, be with other peers, share feelings, experience emotions, etc. She is convinced that something isn't right with the world and is determined to figure out a way out of the system, the truth that is being hidden and live a normal pre-war life.
I must emphasize, the story is fast-paced and with all the sci-fi to it, the story can get a bit confusing at times. I had to concentrate and follow these characters like my life depended on it. Quite thrilling...
A part of the story that I find that may be troubling for some people will be the 'love story' between Thalia and Basil. At first, I couldn't understand the quick ups and downs between the two, the insta-love. One minute that are so in love and then the next, they are angry at each other; so angry, that they walk away from each other a few times, and it seemed, always at the wrong time, to later come back and be madly into each other again. However, after much thought, I remembered that Thalia's emotions and hormones are emerging from the lack of the inoculation shots that she was suppose to receive prior to her running away. A teen goes through so much by just being a teen, and has many feelings and mood swings. A lot of those feeling have been felt since birth, etc. But Thalia's emotions have been suppressed since early childhood. Every little thing is new to her; especially when there's a teen boy involved. I now understand why the insta-love/hate-connection between Thalia and Basil. And why they need each other so much. After finishing the book, and re-reading the epilogue, their relationship completely makes sense. It just take a thoughtful minute or two to comprehend it.
If you're looking for something out of your comfort zone, this is your gem. Dystopian-lovers, you will definitely find this book very interesting. The book ends in a really good place, with a slight cliff-hanger. Enough to leave you wanting more... I hope to see more of Thalia and Basil - in a new world, more mature, and hopefully, not hungry.
And just as a side-note, the thought of having the extra time to not have to worry about eating, cooking meals and using the bathroom sounds amazing! Remember, we spend a 1/4 of our lives in the bathroom! I rather use that time to read more! lol