Miss me? I missed you, my friends. But a week off can work wonders sometimes, and I left you plenty of archives to read, along with a brand new Story Time based on Snowmen at Christmas, and since it quickly became one of my Favorite Story Times Ever, I hope you didn’t jones too much for some lit from the Lit Mama.
Let’s get right back into it with a review of a highly entertaining book perfect for teen girls and just in time to make a great Christmas gift. Because Dystopia.
120 years ago, the world was nearly wiped out by a virus. Now the government has control in a very 1984-ish kind of way. Emotions are useless and can gain you the kind of attention that ends in a death squad. You’re assigned work, potential mates, and even… children. Duty and intellect are everything. Your place in society is determined by how smart you are.
Avlyn was born in the lower caste, Level One, alongside a twin brother. But she showed above-Level One intelligence at a young age and so was placed with a family in Level Two. Upgraded, so to speak. It provides her with more opportunity to do her duty to society. It also means she has to learn higher focus, because the higher your intelligence, the less emotion you can display.
Staying focused is the bottom line.
The story starts out on configuration day, the day Avlyn will be given her career assignment and potential mate files. It’s like Match.com on steroids. If you were only allowed to pick from people the government has already chosen for you. You know, so you can breed more intelligent children who can focus and contribute.
So Avlyn has to be focused and emotionless. The problem is, she still very much remembers her early childhood with her twin, whom she loved very much. Harder still, her twin died years ago, so she can’t even imagine him out there in the world, doing his Level One thing. She does have a memento of him that, if found, could get her in A Lot of trouble. So she’s not quite as emotionless as she’d like to be.
Of course. Because there has to be a hero.
There also has to be a love interest. In this case, it’s a boy who grew up outside society and is part of the Rebellion. Shades of Delirium by Lauren Oliver here, but it works well, so why not use it again? Meyer didn’t pull me in the way Four did in the Divergent series (or heck, Alex in Delirium, for that matter), but he’s a pretty cool dude that teen girls will likely swoon over. What’s more important is that he recruits Avlyn into the rebellion, which starts a downward (upward?) spiral in which Avlyn discovers a little too many secrets, both about herself and her society.
Configured is a tightly-written dystopian novel with fully fleshed characters and an interesting set up. It will please techies who like to imagine what new tech might be headed our way and conspiracy theorists who think tech is just another measure of mind control. And dystopia lovers. Like me. Who are both conspiracy theorists and lovers of those who stand up for what’s right, not what’s easy. Yeah yeah.
Make it a stocking stuffer. Because books.