You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.
Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?
Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.
Ari Goelman is the award winning author of The Innocence Treatment and The Path of Names. In addition to writing fiction, he teaches at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and enjoys biking in the rain, especially when it stops raining. He lives in Vancouver with his family. If you want to learn more about Ari and his writing, check out www.arigoelman.com.
"The funny thing about paranoia is it depends on the truth, right? I mean, it's only paranoia if I'm wrong."
Life has always been different for Lauren, who has an unexplained medical condition that forces her to believe every word she's told. When a treatment is offered that can make her "normal", she jumps at the chance, but the results brings on sudden, overwhelming paranoia.
This story reads as a non-fiction work compiled by Lauren's sister, who switches between young Lauren's journal entries and the therapy notes she was able to retrieve. The alternating timelines let us sample a bit at a time of each phase in Lauren's life: pre-surgery and immediately post-surgery (as she is forming her suspicions), and a few months post-surgery (when she has committed herself to a psych ward and is neck deep in full-blown paranoia).
"I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but understanding other people is sort of terrible sometimes."
The thought of not recognizing sarcasm or lies is baffling to me, but it was really interesting to watch Lauren change. Even her manner of speaking in her journal entries reflects the changes in her, as she starts off sounding incredibly young and innocent, and gradually grows to sound jaded and wronged. The depictions of her concerns will feel familiar to a lot of individuals who have struggled with anxiety and paranoia, as they feel super authentic and really suck you in to the drama.
You spend the bulk of the story getting down to the truth: is Lauren really suffering from delusions, or is the government out to get her? I won't tell you that; you'll have to pick this one up and find out for yourself!
I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I flew through it. The formatting makes for a very quick read, and while I never fully attached to the characters enough to 5-star this one, I am delighted to have read it and would be very interested in reading more from Ari B. Goelman. I believe that this is a standalone, and it ties up the loose ends well enough by the final chapter, but if it is extended into a series, I would be more than happy to continue it!
Content warnings: ableism, fat-shaming, violence, attempted sexual assault.
All quotes come from an unedited advance reading copy and may not match the quotes in the finished release.
Thank you to Roaring Brook Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
I received a copy of this book to read and review from Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. All opinions are my own.
When I initially requested this book from Netgalley I thought it was merely a story about a girl who had surgery which cured her brain disorder that caused her to be gullible and not recognize sarcasm. While that was partially what this story was about it was also much more than that. Now that idea alone would have been incredibly interesting. But add in the super strict government and this story was incredibly more interesting than I originally anticipated.
Lauren made for an amazing main character and narrator. As she began to be able to detect sarcasm and lies I was immensely saddened for her. The realization that people were laughing at her and not with her, or that her sister didn't want to walk home with her nearly had me in tears. The transformation after surgery made her incredibly perceptive and led to interesting thought about what white lies we believe because it is easier that way.
The plot was amazingly well thought out. The Department and all of its regulations were explained thoroughly, but not overly so that it bogged down the story or made it boring. It is believable to see how our country could go into that kind of state after an emergency, especially when you consider The Patriot Act that came after 9/11. When people are really scared the idea of more government security sounds comforting, not restrictive.
As for the romance.. I could see the appeal to Sasha. He was honest with her about who he was, even if she might not like the idea of an informant following her around. At times though, his motives were not entirely pure and I'm glad that she didn't blindly trust him.
This is one of the best novels that I have read in a while. I would suggest it to anyone who likes YA with a touch of science fiction. I would definitely pick up anything else written by Ari Goelman
A young girl has a mental condition that makes her very trusting and unable to detect sarcasm and non-verbal cues. Then she has an operation that fixes that. She ends up becoming very suspicious of everyone. But she isn't paranoid: she's living in a real dystopian nightmare.
Sort of a mash-up of "Flowers for Algernon" and "The Hunger Games". Told mostly through excerpts from a diary and transcripts of counseling sessions, and not completely in chronological order. And the diary contains lies. So you have to pay attention. But it isn't too hard to piece together.
The bad guys are a little too transparently bad for me, but this is a young-adult story, so I'll let it slide. I really enjoyed reading it.
I really can't remember much of this book, only because it wasn't that memorable. It wasn't boring, just not interesting. The premise was there, the story could have been amazing, but the writing was kinda poor and I couldn't appreciate it as much as I would have liked to.
It is future/dystopian, but a really fresh take. I liked the medical aspect a lot, and I liked that it focused on distorting the brain. Because frankly, that is so fascinating in a creepy "oh crap I hope this kind of thing doesn't actually happen" way. But it feels plausible. Okay, maybe not this exact situation obviously, but some form of awful medical control. Look, I have read a ton of dystopian and future-set books, and this felt very original to me, so I think that says quite a bit! The formatting is unique! I love me some unique formatting. This is done through Lauren's journal entries, her sister's footnotes (which were probably my fave!), and clinical session transcripts. The journal entries worked really well because the reader got to know Lauren quite well through them, so she didn't seem so abstract. And the other bits filled in some things that Lauren wasn't privy to. Speaking of Lauren, it was impossible to not feel for her. I mean, brain surgeries? Not knowing who to trust? Not knowing what is happening to your own body? That is a lot for one person to handle, especially a young person. And most especially a young person who has spent her whole life completely oblivious to the truth of the world around her. The possibility of an unreliable narrator. Was Lauren reliable? I am not telling you, and I myself was unsure for so long. Which made the book that much more high stakes. Because as much as Lauren doesn't know who to trust throughout the book, neither do we as the reader. It was fast paced and engaging. I flew through the book, not only because I was invested in the outcome, but just because there were constantly new twists and discoveries. Plus, the formatting made for a really enjoyable read as well.
I think the only thing that I wasn't a huge fan of was that I did have some trouble believing the whole "not understanding sarcasm/lies" part- because I don't really know if that is how the brain works? But alas, it was easy enough to get over once I got into the book!
A great fresh take on future/dystopian novels, from the plot to the formatting. It was engaging and entertaining, and a definite win for me!
There was something irresistible about this novel and I can´t quite figure out what that was for me. I don´t know if it was the format or the morally ambiguous characters, the unique plot or the government behind the scenes. Or maybe it was all of those things combined. All I know is that somewhere along the way I fell in love with this book and I don´t think I will ever turn back.
The Innocence Treatment fascinated me in a way I hadn’t been fascinated in along time. I got caught up in these characters lives and how controlled everything is. I even got caught in the increasing violence and outbursts of action. This book slowly but surely completely sucked me into its world. I can’t sing this books praises enough.
This book is best when most of it is a mystery so all I am going to say is that I loved it and if you love books with unique formats mixed with terror and mystique then you should definitely pick this book up. I 100% recommend it.
The not so distant future isn't looking bright, however this book's future is looking pretty blindingly bright because it was pretty freaking fantastic and I really enjoyed it and believe many readers (especially fans of the Illuminae Files) will too. 4 Stars ✨
I couldn't put this book down. The way the story is told, sprinkling information about the world and it's events here and there throughout, left me hungry for more. The main character's mind is really fun to dive into, and the format it's told in- a collection of annotated journal entries and transcripts- only added to it. I love a good dystopian sci fi, and this one was really interesting. Read it, please. The way Lauren changes is haunting- the information she uncovers is shocking- and the writing feels very real.
For the full review you can always look at my blog...please look at my blog...
“There are some lies it’s nicer to believe.”
So Lauren had a medical condition where she pretty much believed everything everyone told her, all the time, always. Think William’s Syndrome minus the teeth problems and the supravalvular aortic stenosis. But then Lauren gets an an operation that cured her of her extreme naïveté. Now she sees the world as it really is – she can tell when people are lying to her. And her world sucks. It sucks a lot. She lives five minutes into the future (that 2031 is not that far away – only fourteen years – frightens me a little. I mean, I still have a hard time believing that the 1997 was 20 years ago…#harrypotter20) in a dystopian United States under the thumb of a shadowy government referred to as “The Department.” There’s all sorts of nods to uprisings and other calamities that took place in the 2010s and 2020s, and apparently kids in 2031 aren’t familiar with Harry Potter or Star Wars. That threw me out of the story a bit, because there is no way that will ever happen. I’m sure they’ll still be releasing Star Wars movies in 2031. JKR will probably release another book from the Potterverse come 2031. And I, being…much older than I am now in 2031, will still buy it.
Anyway, life in 2031 is awful and Lauren is only just now becoming conscious of it. The story is told in the form of her journal entries, entries written a decade after-the-fact by Lauren’s sister, transcripts of interviews between Lauren and her therapist, and so on. Pay attention to the dates of each entry, as it skips around a bit. The story starts out strong, but as it progresses it slows down. I binged through the first 100 pages in less than a day but it took me two additional days to make it through the remainder.
I did enjoy the characters in this book a lot, though. As a person on the autism spectrum, I related to Lauren hard. As a kid, I used to believe everything people told me, too…now it’s the exact reverse and for the most part I don’t believe anything anyone tells me. There’s a happy medium in there somewhere I should probably strive towards, but…eh. Too lazy and being contrary is fun. “Do normal people feel that way when they see their friends? Is this maybe a side effect of the therapy—that I might be getting too paranoid? Or is this real? How do normal people tell the difference?” Oh, Lauren, welcome to my entire life.
Also: Lauren is smart in insisting on keeping her hair short so no one can grab it during a fight. I never got that about action movies/TV shows/books where the heroines would be fighting with their long hair flowing. First off: won’t it get in your face and impair your ability to see? Second: if I were their opponent, first thing I’d do is just grab fistful of that hair and not let go. Wear your hair up or wear it short, ladies, if you’re going to get into a fight.
I was really, really lucky to win a copy of this book from the author in a Goodreads Giveaway. -----
“The hardest lies to catch are the ones you want to believe” (206).
And that, my friends, is the most important line of The Innocence Treatment. You’re welcome.
Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit. The entire book is important. No, really! It’s important…and funny and tragic and amazing, and I wish I could go back in time so I could read it all over again for the first time. It’s just that good.
I’m a sucker for unreliable narrators, and throughout the book I was trying to decide who to trust: Lauren, whose journal entries make up the bulk of the text; Brechel, the psychologist analyzing Lauren in the transcripts; Corbin, in the few times she shows up; Evelyn, with her teenage idealism and loathing for the Department; or Sasha, the spy paid to protect Lauren. Most of the story is told from Lauren’s point of view, so it’s hard to believe anyone but her is telling the truth, but in the transcripts we see a character who is as coldly calculating as Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock Holmes (a comparison Lauren makes herself, I imagine with a wry grin). Evelyn admits in her notes that even she doesn’t know the exact truth about any of this, though she is naturally inclined to believe Lauren’s account than anyone else’s. Because of this uncertainty, the book kept me on my toes and had me compulsively turning pages long after I should have been in bed. The book called me all day while I was at work, whispering at me to read just one more paragraph before class started…
The beauty of the epistolary novel is that it allows you to dig into the private thoughts of a character, and makes the book feel more real. The Innocence Treatment handles this so well that I sometimes felt like I was reading a nonfiction book, but set in an alternate universe. It is extremely well-structured, alternating between diary entries from a younger Lauren, to the present-day Lauren as she discusses these entries with a therapist. Geolman managed to give each character their unique voice, but also to keep the different formats from blending into one another.
For instance, Lauren's diary entries are annotated by her sister, and readers can clearly see the different writing styles between the two sisters. The therapy sessions are written down as a conversation between the two characters, and you can recognize (especially further in the book) that Lauren's voice is her own, recognizable from her diary entries, while the therapist's is his. It's also interesting to see the point of views from different characters, and how they think of one another.
The content itself grabbed my attention early on and held onto it throughout the entire story. With the formatting of the novel, we get many unreliable narrators, and this keeps you guessing until the very end about how the book will be wrapped up. It is also a dystopia, but the story revolves more around Lauren's life within this world, and doesn't only revolve around her fighting this dystopia. It contains a story about a family affected by constraints of this supervised world, without necessarily revolving around how they are all working to suppress the regime. It was refreshing to read!
Honestly, though, this book makes me wish I was still in university so I could dissect it through an essay on the difficulty of mastering the epistolary style and its strength if done correctly. Geolman wrote what became one of my favourite books of 2017 and I highly recommend it.
I'd like to thank Roaring Brook Press and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Of course I wanted to finish this ARC before publication date, but I didn't manage it. Just finished it a few minutes ago, so I am writing this while it is fresh in my mind.
Lauren has suffered since birth from "innocence," the inability to discern between honesty and falsehood, or to detect social intricacies such as jokes and sarcasm. She believes every word anyone says to her, which can of course be detrimental to her. So she lives a very sheltered and protected, but seemingly a very happy life.
The story picks up shortly after an experimental medical treatment alters her condition and leaves her able to begin understanding the finer points of social interaction. Her life changes for the worse as she begins to understand the problems inherent in this post-political collapse America, and begins to realize that for her entire life, her friends have viewed her mostly as a favorite pet.
This book is compellingly readable. Short chapters alternating between Lauren's journals, her sister's recollections, and a psychologist's case study notes keep the story moving quickly. As each chapter ended I wanted to keep reading, to find out what happened as more and more of the ugliness of the world revealed itself to her. Her complicated relationship with the handsome Sasha, who she knows is an undercover agent assigned to follow her, brings additional depth to the story, as Lauren experiences attraction for the first time.
Despite how much I enjoyed the story, Lauren is not a terribly likable girl. Even though I have sympathy for her, it's hard to get past her anger and her understandable disillusionment. Even so, it's a great story, and by the end, you feel that Lauren has come full circle and truly grown into her real self. Highly recommended for YA sci-fi fans.
A terrifying dystopian extension of the Homeland Security Act, the Emergency Act allows the Department to imprison anyone suspected of anti-Department sentiments or activities to be arrested and erased from society, but Lauren just thinks it's great that the government cares so much about keeping us safe! Lauren is teenage-going-on-four, intellectually normal, but naive and gullible to the extreme. After receiving brain surgery to help her be more normal, Lauren suddenly realizes how messed up the world is. Her "friends" are fakes, the Department makes no sense, and the "nice" doctor that is keeping an eye on Lauren's condition has ulterior motives. Lauren's new clarity is labeled paranoia, but is it paranoia if they really are out to get you? So many exciting twists and turns, with commentary on not just high school, parents, and today's government but on society as a whole. Fabulous book!
First let me say that I absolutely love an epistolary book, so this was a joy for me to read. There are journal entries, written video commentaries, footnotes, and therapy transcripts. Perhaps it was just me, but this book was reminiscent of "Flowers For Algernon" by the amazing Daniel Keys. That in itself made me love this book. They are both written in the epistolary format and they are both about people having their mind "advanced." This story was, of course, more futuristic as it was set post-2030. The story is being shared by Evelyn, Lauren's older sister. Lauren could not tell when people were lying. She believed everything she was told. Her surgery was supposed to make her gain the ability to know that not everything people say is the truth. However, Lauren becomes so aware of lies that she learns of a "Department" secret agenda. The Department is never totally explained as are other clandestine ideas in the book, but that really takes nothing away from the story. If anything it makes it all that more mysterious. I read this book in two sittings over the course of a weekend! This is officially one of my top 25 books. Again, my biased love of Flowers For Algernon and my perceived similarities of the two gave it a helping hand into that top 25. This is a 5-star book for me. I do not give them lightly,
This one didn't resonate well with me. While the premise was interesting - a teenage girl who is a science experiment, believing anything you tell her - I felt the plot got too messy at times. In certain aspects, there were too many details and in other aspects, not enough. A significant amount of time is spent on sharing minor details of Lauren's thought process while the actual specifics and motives behind why she has her "condition" are thrown at the reader in earnest in the last few chapters. The pacing and sharing of information to the reader seemed very off to me and I had a difficult time staying interested.
This near future dystopia is a science fiction story about a girl who has a medical treatment that changes her from being trusting, believing everything a person tells her, and loving everyone to a girl who is paranoid about what the government is up to. Or is she? Paranoid assumes that what she believes isn't true. But what if it is?
Lauren Fielding is living near Washington DC after the Emergency through civilization - at least, in the United States - into chaos. A new Department has been formed to "protect" the citizens from dangers as a result of the Emergency Act. People are afraid to say anything derogatory about the government or the Department for fear of being arrested and imprisoned without any legal representation. There are spies and informers everywhere watching everyone.
When the story begins, Lauren is looking forward to the operation that will "fix" her. She is tired of having a set of rules to live by and a school paraprofessional dogging her steps all day. She wants to be normal. After the operation, she begins to see that her friends aren't really friends and she develops a taste for violence. When an older boy, playing on her supposed innocence, attempts to have sex with her, she uses the self defense skills she has been taught to discourage him. When he spreads the story around school that she had sex with him, she is helped by Sasha Adams, a new student and informer for the Department.
She and Sasha become as good of friends as they can be considering that everything she says to him while he is wearing his glasses goes right into the Department's hands. One clear indication that the Department has over-reached is that Sasha was recruited by the Department from a Ukranian refugee camp when he was a pre-teen and trained to be a spy. Failure to follow their rules will see him deported.
This story is told by Lauren's older sister Evelyn who has gathered together Lauren's journals, the case notes of the psychologist who interviews her while she is in "voluntary" detention, and interview transcriptions. Evelyn wants to get out the true story of the Innocence treatment and of her sister who was a hero.
The book was fascinating and fast-paced. I enjoyed it.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised! This story is written like a book, authored by the main character's sister, told in alternating narratives of journal entries and transcribed therapy sessions. The writing style did remind me a bit of Illiminae, which made for a quick read. I did find in the beginning keeping track of the timeline slightly confusing, since the entries are not done in chronological order. However, the author did a good job holding my attention throughout the novel, curious as to what new developments will unfold next.
I liked the main character Lauren. She was a very interesting character whose perception of reality is severely changed. The world in which Lauren lives in is full of deceptions, everyone and everything may not be as it appears. Or is it? While Lauren adjusts to life after a mind-altering operation, her behaviour becomes increasingly violent. Is she fighting against people who mean her harm or is she just a delusional teenager?
It was a good book with a plot that I hadn't heard before, but it definitely fits into the category of "I had a surgery and now I'm realizing I'm important." I didn't feel fully settled with the ending, but it wasn't bad in any way. I would recommend reading.
3.5! I had put off reading this book because the cover didn't grab me right away, and now I am sorry that I waited to read it. The cover actually fits the story's events quite well, and the story itself brings to mind Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, which also deals with experimentation and intelligence. I'm not saying the stories are the same at all, but they do explore similar territory. This one revolves around 16-year-old Lauren Fielding, who becomes part of an experiment to see if doctors can somehow make her less naive and innocent and more aware of social cues. Her brain surgery is a success, and Lauren becomes increasingly aware that not everyone is her friend and not everyone has her best interests at heart. In fact, in this future world of 2031, not even her doctor, Dr. Corbin, can be trusted as Lauren learns to her disappointment. As Lauren realizes that even the government cannot be depended on to do the right things, she becomes increasingly angry and violent, paranoid and dangerous by some accounts. This is a frightening depiction of the lengths that some agencies will take to control others and to make money, even grooming Sasha, a refugee boy just looking to survive, into an expert spy. While there are some holes in the story, it provides a scary glimpse of where our society may be heading, a place where almost no one can be trusted, and one's innocence can be used against one. The juxtaposition of Lauren's journals and the clinical notes of Dr. Finlay Brechel allow readers to judge for themselves to decide whose version of the truth they will buy while clearly seeing Lauren's urgency and need to save her family, including her older sister, Evelyn. Readers will need to do a little bit of reading between the lines here, but it will be worth the effort.
I received an ARC of this book through a book tour. Opinions shared are mine. The format of The Innocence Treatment is a bit unusual. It alternates between Lauren’s pre-surgery journal entries and post-surgery interview transcripts. In certain areas, footnotes appear from Lauren’s sister Evelyn. Through these perspective windows, we get to piece together a patchwork truth. In a post-Emergency world where the government tamps down any whisper of discontent, who can be believed?
This book ranks as 5 stars for me. It was so different from any book I’ve read this year! I loved the psychology behind the story, especially when it related to Lauren’s friends and family. I’d love to see prequels that describe The Emergency, and perhaps a companion novel narrated by Lauren’s sister Evelyn.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4.5 / 5 Stars
This story is actually told in several different formats, and there are footnotes listed on some of the journal entries in the novel that discuss the POV from another close character of the main protagonist. I actually really enjoyed the story in the way it was written as I often don't see stories being written differently period. Seeing different POVs interact in the story, not to mention a story that is told a decade or so after the events of the story occurred, is a pretty cool idea.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story and Lauren's character. Her thoughts evolve dramatically and seemingly almost all at once. Not only is the story so creative and interesting, parts of the story emerge with conflict and excitement in anticipation for what comes next. Although some parts of it are very sudden and I never really understood the point of Dr. Brecher's character, I took great pleasure in how the epilogue turned out, sad as it is. I also liked how Sasha and Lauren just ended up together in a spiteful, but trusting manner. For anyone that might like conspiracy and a conflict that takes place between the character and the country/government, this is for you!
Interesting premise - I appreciated how the story unfolded through the journal entries and doctor's reports. I also loved the footnotes - there's something about footnoted fiction that I find really grabbing; they were used well to build suspense. A fun read, nice and fast.
This was a great book that I wish had been 2-3 times longer than it was. It had me hooked from page 1. The last page came way too soon.
The author builds the background conditions, and our characters, as living in the United States after there have been 2 “uprisings”. The conditions are pretty dire. For a time after the 1st uprising, the power grid went down, the Government shut down, we infer that martial law was declared because the story mentions “troops everywhere”. The Department of Security, Defense, and Well-Being has enacted a law known as “The Emergency Act” which allows greatly heightened surveillance and prosecution OF the American people BY the Government.
Living under these conditions, in the year 2031, begins actions that are referenced in the story, it has been 10 years.
This is the story of Lauren C. Fielding, a 16 year old girl, and the experimental brain surgery that she was told would “fix” her “imperfect” brain. She was told it would make her smarter > make her normal. This is the story of how she became “The Innocent Girl”.
After brain surgery, Lauren is under care of a Psychologist. She is confined in a “facility”. She is kept either sedated and/or physically restrained whenever she is to interact with her care givers and her Psychologist. She is said to be having paranoid delusions. But is she? Or is it all true?
The Innocent Girl. The girl who awakens the American people to the reality of the acts of the U.S. Department of Security, Defense, and Well-Being against it's own citizens.
Great book for Young Adult readers and older. Thank You Netgalley and author, Ari Goelman for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This book is written as journal entries and interviews of the “innocent girl”, Lauren Fielding, compiled by her older sister. She believes everything everyone tells her until she has an operation from Dr Corbin who “fixes her”. She begins to realize when people are joking or lying. She’s also become very paranoid about the department (basically the government after this crazy thing that happened in the US which kind of sounds like the KGB because they can detain people for no reason). She starts to fall for this guy named Sasha, who wears glasses that report everything to the Department, that he works for. Basically near the end we discover that Dr Corbin made her (her parents needed help getting pregnant) innocent so that she could harvest the genes later to be able to administer it to anyone. Her sister is arrested because Lauren refuses to talk with Dr Corbin. In her journal entries she talks about how she’s going to write a fake entry. The therapist talks to Lauren about how she sounds paranoid but she’s really just becoming more aware and almost has a superhuman ability to tell when people are lying. Also is very aggressive. She surrenders herself to Corbin so her sister can go free and her family can leave the country. Sasha was working for Corbin, Corbin did all this on purpose to be able to weaponize the innocent treatment, her therapist killed himself, and Sasha helped her escape and she leaves with him. End of journal. Her sister ends with the fact that she hasn’t seen her sister other than a few times but doesn’t really know what’s going on with her. Very political and a way of seeing how we think about our government!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is a great book. It takes places in America in the future, and it's a bad future, where we are under a state of emergency. People are not free to criticize the government and there are riots in the streets. Lauren is a high school girl who is a complete innocent- she believes everything she is told, thinks everyone is a friend, and never sees the bad in anything. She goes in for an operation to change this, and what changes in her is that she sees people for who they really are. The authorities label her dangerous, but she is actually only dangerous to people who are hurting her.
The story is told through Lauren's journals and letters to her doctor, as well as the notes taken by her therapist. The premise is that these documents are being compiled by her sister, Evelyn, and being made into a book.
It seems that the books I've been reading lately have been commenting on our current political climate (without even meaning to, this book must have been written before the last election). I could see how some of the things in the book could become true.
It was a little hard getting into the story, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It was absorbing, and the ending was excellent.
Lauren believes everything someone tells her. She can not tell if a person is lying or not. Lauren has brain surgery to help fix her disorder. After her surgery she gets to see the world as everyone else and its not as nice and lovely as she thought it was before her surgery.
The book is told in journal entries, and therapy session transcripts, which I really liked. The book would also go back in forth in present time and past. I found this format really engaging and kept me reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen with Lauren.
There is a small love interest with Lauren and Sasha. At first I liked it then I become really weary of him and didn't really trust him, but I think he genuinely liked Lauren. I thought it was a nice touch to the story. I really liked the bond between Lauren and her sister and they both did everything they would to protect each other. As for Dr. Corbin who did the surgery, I am totally disguised with her. I can't believe what she did, I mean how could you do that to somebody and she didn't even care.
I really liked the ending it wrapped everything up really nicely. I definitely recommend this book if you are into science fiction!
I received a copy from Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.