Orange, Red, Yellow, Green or Blue? At some point in the near future, America’s children begin dying off, and those who survive are shipped off to camps and classified by a color, defined by their mysterious powers. After a daring rescue, Ruby has escaped her infamous camp. Ruby and her little band of misfits travel across Virginia in search of East River, a supposed safe heaven for teens with ‘powers’.
I have to admit, I had very high expectations for this novel, as I’ve seen it on many “favorite” lists. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps I would have liked it better if I hadn’t heard so many rave reviews about it. There were a lot of aspects that reminded me of the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, but it also had pieces that were very different.
The book had a very “Children of Men” feel to it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a very dark film (literally and figuratively) in which, for the past 18 years, women haven’t been able to have children (making the youngest person on earth 18, weird, I know). Eventually, they find a woman who is pregnant, and must get her to the safe haven “The Human Project”.
In this novel, majority of adolescents have died off, leaving only 2% of teens 12-18 alive. This 2% is gifted (or cursed) with freak powers. Here’s a graphic to explain:
Ruby is one of the first children to be sent to a camp, after her parents call the police to come pick her up on her tenth birthday. Her camp is basically the Auschwitz of rehabilitation camps, if you will. I was actually very interested in the few chapters where she is in the camp; just learning about how it functions and what the world has become. I was shocked to find this book was extremely realistic when it came to the little things that you may ask yourself. For example, we learn they get a haircut once a year and (once she’s escaped) she finds tampons! She even shaves her legs at one point!
The fact that in 5th grade she faced majority of her grade dying (some even in her presence) was as intriguing as it was dark. The first chapter touches on that and immediately sparks your curiosity to read on. Once she’s escaped the camp, she’s on the run. At first, it’s exciting and fresh, but then it really starts to drag. There comes a point where you’re really wanting something to change, either they find East River or get captured or just stop running. The characters can only go through almost getting caught so many times before you start to get bored. Once at East River, it almost feels like a different novel. Another major character is introduced (extremely late in the novel) and all of a sudden it feels like you’re reading the sequel. But really, the ending is pretty heartbreaking, it’s worth the read just for the end!
For those of you who have not read it: I did enjoy reading it, for the most part. Many people love this novel. I would recommend it to you, perhaps you’ll love it more than me. DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT.
For those of you who have read it: Let’s get to the spoilers!
Okay. So. I like Liam. I do. But he’s so perfect. Sure, he’s a broken soul, he’s responsible for many deaths (though he was trying to do good) and that definitely weighs on him. Especially his friend, Jack. I was always a bit confused about Jack. It’s this phantom character we hear so much about but don’t really get a taste of, at least not until the end, then we get a little bite. More so, I feel like Jack was invented specifically so the final scene with Chubs could happen. Basically, he felt more like a plot device then he did an actual person that they cared about.
Secondly, I had a some trouble believing that Ruby is supposed to have only had a 4th’s grader’s education. She makes many deductive conclusions and well, just seems much smarter than that of a teen who only went to school until 4th grade, and was then shoved into a labor camp. Basically, I found her intelligence a little unbelievable.
CLANCY. GRAY. THOUGH. Honestly, when the book really started to drag for me, Clancy brought it back to life. Enter: interesting character with a more interesting background! I really hope he is a major part of the sequels. His redemption would be awesome to see. Honestly. I’m kind of hoping for a similar situation to the Shatter Me series. For those of you who have read Ignite Me, you know what I mean!!
Overall, I did enjoy it. It’s just not on my favorite list.