The night after 16-year-old Gaia’s first delivery as a midwife, she returns home to find her parents missing — arrested by soldiers from the Enclave. At a loss as to what information her parents might have, Gaia is determined to help them, but finds herself in a web of intrigue involving the “quota” of babies that must be handed over to those from within the Enclave every month. She is forced to decide quickly to either take her chances among those in the Enclave and rescue her parents or to live a life steeped in an injustice that she is only beginning to understand.
Un-put-down-able. Dystopian young adult fare that gives a new twist on the formula, with the advantaged living a privileged life behind walls, dependent upon the masses without. While occasionally the world O’Brien created had some holes in it that left me asking myself annoying questions (how they are able to have some technologies and not others, etc.), I was so engaged in the story that I let them slide. I loved the babies and birth thread of the plot, the twisted ethical logic of the “bad guys” and that the book truly surprised me on more than one occasion (those made up for the few more predictable things). Gaia is a tough cookie with some deeper emotional issues, and I liked all the people she was able to find to help her on her way.
Instead of being annoyed when it ended clearly unfinished, I’m just already looking forward to its sequel.
Rated: None: in one instance the word “prostitute” is used and there are several birthing-room scenes that are more intense than younger teens might be interested in.