When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.
The problem with being an Environmental Geography student is that it really messes up your enjoyment of dystopian books with environment issues as a base, such as this one. i really could not bring myself to really like this book just because it takes too many liberties with the scientific aspect of this book. Coupled with the slow pace at times I really struggled through this book.
One aspect that I really did enjoy was that nobody could survive without the air tanks. This makes the book original in comparison to other YA dystopians as it isn't just the government that is a threat to our characters but the world as well. Though the upper class have more accesible air, Quinn's struggles show that this does not make them indestructible and it did add more suspense to the book.
I really struggled with the characters though. Quinn and Alina I just could not like but they weren't utterly hatable, I reserve the word hate for Bea who was so whiny and annoying I felt the urge to skip her chapters. Yeah, the only characters that i could like were Maude and Jazz which is pretty depressing because they're only secondary characters.
The most annoying thing was the science though, I understand that this based on basic science - no plants = no oxygen = DEAD but there are so many aspects that she didn't take into consideration that i just could not get out of the back of my mind. I won't get into it because it's Sunday and I am not trying to think about anything to do with my university course but GAH IT'S FRUSTRATING!
I didn't give up, and I enjoyed the small bit of originality, but I honestly can't recommend this book. Maybe you'll enjoy it, but I'd recommend Under the never Sky over this.
Overall Rating: D
Book released 11th October 2012 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Print)
ARC also received from the US publisher via Edelweiss (eBook)