Gina (My Precious Blog)'s Reviews > The Glimpse

The Glimpse by Claire Merle
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Jul 17, 2012

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bookshelves: dystopian, 2012-debut-authors, 2012-debut-authors-challenge
Read from June 18 to July 14, 2012

The Glimpse

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Publisher: Faber & Faber Children's (June 5, 2012)
Length: 432 pages
Format: Kindle
Genre: Dystopian, YA Fiction
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Completed: July 2012
Challenges: 2012 DAC Challenge, 2012 E-book Challenge, 2012 Outdo Yourself Challenge, 2012, Read Dystopia Challenge


In a dystopian society sometime in the not so distant future scientists have developed a genetic test which will detect a person's susceptibility to mental illness. People are separated into classes, "Pures", those who will never become sick, "Sleepers" those who have the genetic predisposition to developing a mental illness and "Actives" individuals who are currently mentally ill. Then, the government segregates the Pures from the rest, providing them safe haven within The Community, but banishes everyone else to The City, where life is total chaos and the mentally ill run rampant in the streets. Ariana "Ana" Barber has recently been re-diagnosed as a "Sleeper". She will be allowed to remain in the Community only if she "joins" with a boy named Jasper. But Jasper mysteriously disappears. Anna suspects foul play and decides to go looking for him, but this means braving the City on her own. Will she be able to survive?


Claire Merle grew up up in Highgate (a suburb in North London), so the setting is familiar to her. She now lives in France with her family. The Glimpse is her debut novel and is book one of two. The sequel is still untitled, but is expected to be released sometime in June of 2013.


Set in a futuristic time, The Glimpse starts off a little muddled and slow, but then picks up towards the latter parts of the book. The story is set in London. Writing style is very formal in the beginning, especially noticeable in the dialogs between Jasper and Ana. As the book progresses, the language eventually moves towards being more relaxed and familiar. Word choice favors British English and spellings. The Glimpse is written in third person through the eyes of Ariana "Ana" Barber, a newly designated "Sleeper".


Ariana "Ana" Barber is a seventeen year old female whose father, Ashby Barber, is the man responsible for developing the "Pure" Test. Even though she's led a very coddled life, sheltered by her father, she still somehow manages to cull a rebellious side. Not a blind follower, Anna is brave and questioning. These characteristics lead her to Cole.

Cole, a young man living in the City, is a dangerous rebel but also a leader. He's determined and strong willed. Believing the Pure Test is a farce draws a lot of unwanted attention towards him, landing him in jail on more than one occasion. Somehow Ana believes he may have answers in Jasper's disappearance and might know his whereabouts, so she dares to venture outside the protectives walls of the Community to find him. What she didn't expect is how she would feel towards him once she actually meets him face to face.

Jasper is the young man Ana is supposed to be joined with. She's been crushing on him since she was a young girl. Once she becomes labeled "A Sleeper" she figures Jasper would never want to proceed with their joining ceremony. Surprisingly he does, though. He seems to genuinely care about Ana. Jasper is mysterious and he disappears in the beginning of the story. What's even more bizarre is his father is the president of the company responsible for manufacturing the drug all Crazies are expected to use. A drug which makes them feel awful with numerous terrible side effects such as patchy hair loss.

The plot revolves around a young woman searching for her finance who suddenly disappears. While searching for him she uncovers a lot more than she ever imagined, awakening her to a whole new world, a world where not everyone is treated equally, fairly or even humanely.


Strongly recommend this book to dystopian readers who are looking for something different. Biology buffs and those who find medical thrillers enticing will find this story to be a good fit. Guys as well as girls should find something to like about this book. Its a nice clean read, void of bad language or explicit sex or romance scenes.


This is a story where in the beginning I believed it was going to be very predictable. As it turns out, I couldn't have been more incorrect. There are many unexpected twists and turns as we follow Ana on her journey to reunite with Jasper. Full of suspense and thrill it really kept me involved.

The plot and premise were quite different. The world building was laid out thoughtfully, but I'm just not entirely convinced it was believable. In order to ensure a safe haven for all, a genetic test was developed to detect susceptibility to mental illnesses. Anyone who showed any predisposition to mental illness was removed from the Community and banished to The City where Crazies ran rampant. This seemed a little farfetched that in the "not so distant" future everything could get so entirely screwed up. For example, it was difficult to imagine a four year old having a desire to commit suicide. I also found it hard to embrace the fact the government would treat the mentally ill so inhumanely, especially in care facilities where these individuals where supposed to be helped out, not abused.

The conclusion to this book was left wide open. I wouldn't consider it a primary cliffhanger. The story did wrap up. Everything was becoming complacent, but then "bam" something totally unexpected takes place. So, I'd consider it a secondary cliffhanger, one where what happens sets up a whole new story. I guess that's why there is going to be a sequel released in June of 2013.


This book was a solid three rings. I enjoyed it, but deduct two rings because of formal language and somewhat implausible story line.

Three Rings
(Good - Kept Me Flipping Pages)

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Reading Progress

4.0% "Bummer, this one is written in third person...."
28.0% "Confusing world building and structure and a third person narrative which initially caused me quite a struggle. Formal dialogs amounts teens feels a little stiff, but the plot so far is sucking me in."
38.0% "This one switched gears and landed me in a courtroom for a brief period of time."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Rachael (new) - added it

Rachael the story sounds pretty interesting! can't wait to see what you think :)

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