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397 pages, Hardcover
First published October 9, 2012
I’m engaged to Thomas and yet I let another boy kiss me. And I kissed him back. The worst part? He’s not even a regular boy—he’s a rebel mystic!Oh no! Of all the people suffering in the world, all the injustice going on in the Depths of futuristic Manhattan, THIS. IS. THE. WORST. THING. EVER!
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to fall in love. The love you see on TV or read about in books, where you find your missing half—the person you were meant to be with forever—and suddenly you’re complete.It's the future, in Manhattan, New York. No idea when it is, but, uh, "global warming" happened and the world (the world meaning just Manhattan) has gone to shit. Yeah. It's that kind of a premise. Suddenly we have flooding and sweltering temperature and people with magical powers called Mystics.
I fought for true love, and I won.Aria remembers everything. Her family. Her friends. The time she ate all those oysters and puked her guts out. It's just surprisingly specific that the one thing she can't remember is something that should have been the most important: Thomas.
Now I just have to remember it.
I’ve started to bring my leg back over the railing when my other foot slips.Ugh. Thomas is SO handsome, and SO rich, and it would be really nice to be his wife, and all her friends are, like, sooooo looking forward to their wedding.
And just like that, I’m falling.
The girls nod as if they understand. “That makes sense,” Kiki says. “Meanwhile, I still don’t have a friggin’ date to the wedding! I want some cute guy to dance with during the slow songs and make out with in the bathroom.”But it doesn't FEEL right. Thomas is, like, soooooooo cold. And Hunter, is, like, SOOOOOOOOO HOT. And then there's this pesky little thing about giving the poor downtrodden Mystics their basic human rights. Which Hunter and Aria will TOTALLY get to. Once they stop admiring each other and going to carnivals.
“Time is tick-tick-ticking away!” Bennie says, clapping her hands together.
From here I can see the entire carnival, the colors and the lights, the Magnificent Block ignited with festivities.Yeah. Once they get their minds into the game and out of each other's eyes, Hunter and Aria will change the world! How?!
“This is gorgeous,” I find myself saying.
I think I hear Hunter say You’re gorgeous under his breath."
“Love?” Hunter asks, his eyes wide. “Could the things you’re feeling be love?”The Plot:
I gulp and nod at the same time. “I think so,” I say. “I hope so.”
“Me too,” he says. “More than anything in the world.”
Then he leans in and kisses me. Not on my forehead or cheek, but on my lips. A real kiss. A kiss that feels like it can change the world.
This is the first major event in eighty years that all the young Manhattan elite are attending together. Everyone will be here, regardless of allegiance—Foster or Rose, kids from both sides of the island. The plummet party at the American pales in comparison.Because the best way to celebrate the union of two rival houses is to PARTY PARTY PARTY.
“Come on,” I say, shoving through a crowd of paparazzi.
The heat, they say, is because of the global climate crisis, the melting of snow and ice around the world and the rising sea level that swallowed Antarctica and all of Oceania. Global warming is also to blame for the canals...filling what used to be low avenues and streets with seawater.Welcome to another "global warming" dystopian premise! With magic!
I glance around at what must have been a waiting area for people to board the subway. The ground is slick with grime and eroded from where, at one point, it must have been completely flooded.Ah, logic. Fuck logic. Who needs logic anyway.
“That stays between us, though. Okay? Don’t go texting it or tweeting or whatever it is you kids do.”We're still struggling to make paper records electronic.
The stack of manila envelopes on my desk has piled so high I fear it will topple over. Mental note: Get on those. They’re copies of the draining reports from over ten years ago, before everything was streamlined electronically.It's not like we're not doing that RIGHT NOW OR ANYTHING.
“Some mystics can take on the glamour of someone else,” Hunter says, navigating a flight of stone steps. “So you can look like a different person. But eventually it wears off. Other mystics can use their energy to affect the weather, or even the air surrounding them.” He waits for me to catch up. “I know a girl who can spin a tornado out of thin air,” he says, “and someone who can start a fire”—he snaps his fingers—“like that.”The Mystics in this book are fucking dumb. Supposedly they've existed all along, as witches persecuted for their crimes, and came forth to help the US during WWII. After which, they became DANGEROUS AND ENSLAVED AND DRAINED. Wut. Fucking really?
“Pretending to be something you’re not sucks the life out of you. Even worse than the drainings.”Are you fucking kidding me? You'd prefer to be almost enslaved, your powers drained, rather than HIIIIIIIIIIDE YO'SELF? What kind of a stupid reason is that?
It was Hunter. He’s saved me twice in two nights.
“Please,” I say.Aria is passive, to be fair, she can't DO anything because of who she is. Aria is a spoiled-poor-little-rich-girl without an ounce of common sense. it's not her fault that she was raised to be a smiling and brainless socialite, but I can and will hate her because I want a stronger character than that.
He licks his lips with his thick, wet tongue. “Please what?”
“Please don’t hurt me.”
I close my eyes, willing the pain to stop. I am going to die here. I am going to die for my stupidity.
“Are you spying on me?”Oh, here we go again, a boy who's a stalker, but it's ok if he's stalking her if he's just looking out for her safety. He shows up in her bedroom. He's there whenever she's hurt. He's there when he shouldn't be. He's not who he seems (remember, Mystics can wear other people's faces). Hunter shouldn't be trusted, but the heroine seems to feel that it's ok to trust him anyway!
“Spying has such a dirty connotation,” Hunter says, running one of his hands up my back. “How about keeping watch?”
Something about him—his easy attitude, perhaps, or the way he looks at me—makes me feel I can trust him.As for the romance: A is engaged to B (who is fucking C) while secretly in love with D (but shouldn't be) because D is secretly engaged to E, who graciously sacrifices everything because she loves both A and D.
I have nothing to say tonight but thank you.
Everyone around me is applauding wildly, overjoyed by how quickly something can disappear. Am I the only one who wishes things could come back?
"Aria, may I have a word with you?"
Before I can respond, Kiki answers, "No, Davida, you may not."
I'd laugh if Kiki's tone weren't so serious. "What's your deal, Kiki?" I ask.
Kiki tugs on the hem of her striped cotton day dress "I promised your father on my way in that I'd escort you to work and make sure you got there in time," she says, "and I won't disappoint him."
Kiki takes one final bite of her apple, then drags me into the foyer. My purse is in my hand, and before I know it I'm out the door.
"I hate how she orders you around," Kiki says, tapping her foot impatiently as we wait for the elevator. "You should get rid of her once and for all." [p.219]
The heat, they say, is because of the global climate crisis, the melting of snow and ice around the world and the rising sea level that swallowed Antarctica and all of Oceania. Global warming is also to blame for the canals that line the Depths, filling what used to be low avenues and streets with saltwater. Soon, the scientists say, the rising waters will overtake the entire island. [pp.15-16]
After I take the elevator, I walk down the hallway, passing Benedict's office and those of some of the other executives, and a stainless steel door without a keypad or a touchpad. I'm not sure what it's for, and nobody else seems to know, either. Then the hallway opens into a maze of cubicles, which is where I work." [p.123]
There is a rustling outside, from the balcony. [...] I go over to the windows and open them, stepping out onto the balcony in my bare feet. No one is here.
"False alarm," I say. "Too many mystics coming to visit lately. Puts me on edge, I guess."
Davida climbs out behind me and scans the balcony. She points to a tiny green pill between two paving stones. "A mystic wouldn't be taking Stic." Davida holds the pill up to the light, then shoves it in her pocket. "Only someone who needed a power boost to get to this balcony in the first place. Somebody is spying on you. Or trying to, at least." [pp.244-5]
George Foster pulls away, ad Dad motions to Stiggson. "Fine. Cuff the boy." Then he speaks directly to Hunter. "You'll lead us to one of the mystic entrances and allow us to go through. If we find out that you've warned your people of our arrival, Aria will die. If you do as we say... she'll remain unharmed."
Hunter nods, as though he's actually considering this ridiculous plan. He can't be, though - can he? "And what happens to me?"
"You'll die, of course. But I promise to make your end as painless as possible."
"No!" I shout. "This is unacceptable, this is -"
"Aria," Hunter says, "there's no point in fighting. It's the best way - the only way."
"You can't honestly believe that," I say to him, as though we're the only ones in the room. We've just gotten each other back; I'm not going to lose him again. [p.356]
How could Davida never have told me any of this? How could I not have known, never have suspected? I've lived under the same roof as the girl for practically my entire life.
I feel betrayed. By Davida and by my parents, who've manipulated me to no end. [p.303]
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to fall in love. The love you see on TV or read about in books, where you find your missing half-- the person you were meant to be with forever-- and suddenly you're complete. That's the sort of love my parents say I share with Thomas. Why, then, when he touches me, does it merely feel like a touch?
I thought true love would sear me.
[My father] is a con man and a blackmailer, a leader of thugs[...] To him, love is something you use to manipulate the weak. (p. 12)
Garland, Thomas's brother[...] [has] a thinner and slightly more sinister face. (p.13)
"Everything happens so smoothly from way up here. I wonder what it's like in the Depths. If things get... messy."
"Who cares?" Kiki asks, shrugging. page 32
Thomas forks one of the scallops into his mouth. "They say a mystic's powers mature at thirteen, but what if that's a load of crap? There could be a bunch of crazy powerful little freaks running around. We've gotta end this before it begins, don't you think?" page 84
"How many people died?"
My mother takes a swallow of her drink. "Does it matter?" [...]
I'm speechless, numb. She could at least pretend to be sad that innocent people lost their lives. page 92
But the tornado swallows their voices[...] Then there are sickening sounds- a whoop and a whack and body parts fly everywhere.
Hands. Feet. Arms. Legs.
All at once, the tornado disappears, having completely blasted the men apart. Someone's finger lands near my feet, the white bone completely fleshless. I look away so I don't vomit. (379)
[The mystics] begin to spin. The joined rays of [mystic energy] slice through the men, dicing their bodies. The flesh sizzles as it burns, sending white-hot smoke into the air. Then smoke and blood are everywhere, and the body pieces cascade to the ground. page 380
I am going to die. I am going to die for my stupidity.
"Are you stalking me?"
"Stalking has such... dirty connotations. How about keeping watch?"
It has been three days since we met in the Depths. Three days and all I've been thinking of is you[...] Meet me in the Circle tomorrow night. Please. I just want to look into those starry eyes of yours one more time, and maybe, just maybe, you will want to look into mine, too. (Too corny?)
I waited and waited, but you didn't come. The entire week has been miserable. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I drive myself crazy thinking about you.
It's ridiculous how one encounter can truly change your life[...] In the morning, when I wake up, I think about your beautiful face, your dark eyes, your skin, your lips... and during the day all I hear is the sound of your voice, all I feel is the touch of your hand on my shoulder... and at night, I toss and turn, willing myself to fall asleep as quickly as possible so I can dream of you... and of us... together.
It's an awesome idea to address each other as Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers that we are. I'm so happy I didn't frighten you. I thought telling you the truth-- my last name, and who I am-- would make you run... but you're much stronger than I imagined.
You didn't come last night. I waited and waited. Is there somebody else? If there is... my life will be over. Everything was dark before I met you and now there is so much light-- I couldn't tolerate being shut back into darkness.[...]
Your silence is unbearable. I don't know what to think, other than you don't want me anymore... or something terrible has happened to you... and if either is true, I can't live for one more day... I will come to you tomorrow night... please be there.