In ShareHaven, death is not the end. Centuries ago the ShareHaven Scientists discovered how to harvest a person’s memories and transplant them into another body. Jennza has been raised knowing that someday she will join a Family and receive the memories of one of their beloved lost family members. Although the other teens are excited by the prospect, Jennza worries. After receiving a lifetime of new memories, will Jennza still be Jennza?
In this society no one ages after 25. Every twenty-five years a new group of youth at the age of fifteen have a Celebraze where they are given to 'families' on ShareHaven. Not only do they get new families but memories of dead ones. One of these youth, Jennza, doesn't want to lose her memory and is a rebel. I loved how readers are able to see this so-called 'perfect' society is far from that. It's loaded with secrets and danger. Questioning is also frowned on. Jennza does try to 'fit' in with her assigned family but what she discovers about them only reinforces her earlier misgivings.
The world building is amazing! There's not only ShareHaven but Scientists that have a huge role in this society; Nocs-those who live underground; drolls-zombie-like servants; and a secret society. What really fascinated me was the whole idea of 'memdenity' where the memories of the dead are transferred over to others. Singleton does a great job showing the conflict this does to Jennza of not only seeing but experiencing the memories of someone long dead. Plus, readers see the reactions of the dead ones loved ones reacting to someone else who carries the memories of someone dear to them. Not all of them are accepting.
Added plus is how the backstory is woven throughout. Readers find out what was behind ShareHaven and what caused the scientists to take such drastic measures to ensure the survival of their community.
There's also the whole question of a soul. What is it? Does it really exist? Is there really a purpose for believing in a higher power if you have eternal life? Jennza encounters these very questions as she searches for her true place in this society.
Finally, there also hints of romance not only with someone in Sharehaven but with one of the forbidden Nocs. I really liked Nate and felt a connection with him and Jennza.
The Giver meets Divergent where memories of the long dead are given to others in order to never truly die. This novel also addresses some deep questions like the purpose of faith and where it belongs in a society based on science. The ending hints at a sequel. I hope so as I can't wait to see what else is in store for Jennza and her community.
2. Think The Giver meets Divergent