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352 pages, Paperback
First published October 1, 2013
Don’t focus on the edge. Stay inside the tracks. Stay in this little place where awful things happen, but where beauty hides in beams of sunlight, in the green grass and the gentle lapping of the lake forming and destroying watery shapes. Ignore the men in uniforms that stand at length, sullying the image. They’ll be gone soon. Everything will go back to normal.A beautifully written book that is superior to most YA dystopian novels I have read this year. The world building is intricate, the main character is likeable, and the side characters are immensely well-crafted. The only failing is in the weaker second half of the book, where the plot delved into somewhat of a hurried mess, with some really strange twists that just came out of nowhere.
She looks at me, and her eyes are full of so much pain that it astounds me.The Plot
“It’s only going to get worse,” she says.
"...she asked if I had thoughts about the edge. I lied, Basil. I told her that of course I didn’t think about the edge. But I do. I dream about it. I want to know what will happen if I cross the tracks. I don’t want to jump; I just want to look down. I want to see what’s down there with my own eyes, not through a scope.”She is naive, but not excessively so. She questions herself, like a girl of her age is wont to do. She is a good daughter, she strives to be a good friend, she wants to be someone worthy of her (very wonderful) betrothed. She suppresses her desires because she wants to be normal. Morgan does make some questionable decisions throughout the novel, but overall, her character is a likeable one.
“What if I’m lured the way Lex was lured?” I say. “What if one day I can’t stop myself and I walk right over the edge?”
I rest my head on his shoulder. His collarbone presses into my cheek, and I breathe in the sharp linen of his uniform and something faintly spicy-sweet. Up until last year, he smelled only of soap, if anything at all.Their relationship...their trust in one another, Basil's protectiveness of her---which, by the way, is never overbearing, his belief in her, his willingness to give her space, his faith in her. I haven't come so close to swooning over a guy in a novel for a long time.
“Morgan.” He takes my hands. “Whatever you decide, I want you to know that I’ll stand behind it. I said I’d follow you off the edge, and I meant it. I’d jump into the sky with you. Wherever you go, you won’t have to go alone.”*swallows lump in throat* I'm forming a Basil fanclub. Who's with me?
"We have the free will to stay on this side of the train tracks. If we cross over to the other side, we get too close to the edge, and it mystifies us. We see how infinite the sky is and we lose our senses. Even the people we love most disappear from our thoughts in that moment."
"Things are changing, Little Sister, and not for the better. I have a feeling about that. But I would dock Internment to the ground and take you someplace brilliant if I could."
"Internment is brilliant," I say. "It's more than enough."
More than enough. I repeat the words over and over in my head, forcing them to be true.
Tonic is a peculiar medication I will never understand. I’ve asked Lex and he says it makes conmen of anyone it affects. I suppose he’s right. I am inconspicuous when I check for the scent of it on her clothes and on her breath on the days when she’s especially morose. She doesn’t see that I peek into her satchel on the train. And when she brings tonic into the cavern, I don’t fight her. I come along, entertaining her jokes to keep her spirits high. I make sure she gets home safely.
Thomas has argued with me about this. He tells me I should take the bottle away. But I know that if I did, she would only avoid me the way she avoids Thomas when she feels smothered. I wish she would stay away from her mother’s tonic, but if she must have it, I would prefer she isn’t alone. I never judge her.
“Do you really believe the good outweighs the bad?” I say.
“It has to.” He sees how little this consoles me, and he nudges my forehead with his chin. “I’ll always be here to make sure you’re safe.” (...)
“I’ll always be here to make sure you’re safe, too,” I say. “Even if you are the one who’s stronger.”
“You’re strong,” he says. “Believe me about that.”
His fingers weave between mine, and if I were bolder, I’d bring his hand to my heart so that he could feel what he’s doing to it.