The setting is a world where humans destroyed our Earth. Trees and animals no longer exist. About a large city's worth of people were all that survived, and now they dwell in a sanctuary called Eden. Since the rest of the world is a wasteland, they only have a limited amount of space. Therefore, each family is only allowed to have one child. Rowan, our protagonist, was unfortunate enough to be born only a few minutes after her brother.
Rowan grew up in secret never leaving her family's home. Since her eyes were never corrected (like everyone's in Eden), they'll give away what she is to anyone who sees her. As is typical for these types of situations, Rowan hits a breaking point and sneaks out to see the rest of Eden. She has quite the adventure, but not long afterward, it's discovered that her existence has been detected by the authorities. Rowan and her mother flee, hoping they can get new lenses and a new family for Rowan.
And so Rowan embraces a new life that is nothing like her past. She makes new friends and experiences romantic love and affection for the first time in her life. Rowan is almost constantly in danger throughout the story, and little by little we learn more about this society and all of the skeletons in its closet.
I was very impressed with the language in this story. though written for a young adult audience, they used some words I had to look up. It wasn't overdone and made the book better. I like that they didn't feel that they needed to dumb it down for younger readers. There is a weird love triangle that seems to be forming, but it wasn't completely clear what Rowan's feelings were. I couldn't tell if she was feeling butterflies or just happiness for friendship and interaction. It kept it interesting, and I hate love triangles so that has to mean something.
I really liked this book. Rowan's journey to interact with other people, find out who she is, and the mystery of what really is going on in this society kept my attention and curiosity. It was action packed, but it had those sweet and caring moments, too. The explanations of the scene at the beginning (which can be overly boring in a lot of these book types) were done well and spaced properly so as to not detach from the story too long. I'm excited to see where this story leads.
**ARC provided by Publisher**