Let me just say that I am sure this is a good story. I liked what of this book I read and the only major flaw I had with it is NOT something that is “wrong” with the book. I am not saying that at all. I mean, I was annoyed by the gigantic info-dump about the world at the beginning of the story. Why not just start with the story? But my main beef with this novel does NOT have anything to do with the story itself. I’m sure it’s a good story. My only problem with it is how it was written.
First the story is told in Summer's point-of-view – through first-person narration, I might add – then from Tyler's point-of-view? Um, no! It is too confusing trying to stay in the heads of two different characters that are two DIFFERENT genders. I might have been able to wing it if both first-person stories were told from two characters of the same gender -- though I have never had to do this before because I've never come across such a novel -- but it is asking too much of me, the reader, to put myself in the shoes of two characters of two different genders. I understand that debut novelists will try every gimmick they can come up with to make their book stand out, but we have certain guidelines for writing fiction for a reason. Using more than one first-person point-of-view in a novel can not only be confusing for the reader (though not of course for the WRITER), but a little off-putting as well. It was too off-putting for me. The thing about first-person narration is that it’s more personal than third-person. It’s written with “I did this” or “I said that” and the reader, in reading fiction as a means of escape, somehow or another puts her- or himself into that character’s shoes, into that character’s life, and “lives” that story as the character. Well, that’s how I am with first-person stories, anyway. With third-person, it’s a given we are experiencing a fictional character’s life, but there’s an understanding that we are still separate from them. That degree of separation would enable us to read stories of people of different genders, races, religions, etc., without any problem. And that’s a system we can handle quite easily and without any confusion. We are that character but we’re not that character. With first-person, we are THAT character. There’s a very good reason why third-person point-of-view in fiction is so popular: It WORKS.
This was when I could not read the book any further. I'm sorry, but it would just be too confusing living vicariously as two people of different genders. It's too bad, really. Despite the info-dump at the beginning, this story seems to have promise and it seemed interesting. I would've kept reading if the first-person narration was limited to one character or the author elected to use third-person. Perhaps there is a reader out there who can handle more than one first-person POV in a novel, let alone of two genders, but I am not that reader.
They call it the Slump: a city of ruins where orphaned street kids struggle to survive.
But to fifteen-year-old Summer Greenwood, it’s home. Not a good home, but at least there she can find food and shelter for her sisters, Lily and Tory.
To the powerful Making Perfect corporation, however, the Slump is a gold mine, a source of unending test subjects. Once a month, squads of company officials invade the ruins to capture orphans for their facilities. What happens to the kids they take is unclear—none of them ever return.
Then Summer herself is taken.
Forced into a series of grueling experiments, she soon discovers that Making Perfect’s ultimate goal is far darker than anything she imagined. As she fights to get back to the Slump and her now-defenseless sisters, she begins to understand why once you enter Making Perfect, you never get out.