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Aberrant, Book One

By: Ruth Silver
Published By: Lazy Day
Copyright: Copyright � 2013 Ruth Silver & LazyDay Publishing
25 Chapters / 66,000 Words
Heat Level:
3.4 Out Of 5 (3.4 on 10)   |  Write a review
Price:
$4.99

In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Times is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

Publisher's note: Unlike most of the books available at Blushing Books, this is not erotica/romance. It's appropriate for young adult (& older) readers. If you enjoyed "The Hunger Games" & "Divergent", you'll enjoy the "Aberrant" series.

PROLOGUE

My fingers gripped the metal chain as my feet kicked higher. "Faster!" I laughed with excitement as I felt the wind against my face and could see the entire town of Genesis in my view as I coasted the sky. I had never flown so high on the swings. Joshua Warren, my new best friend from school, seemed eager to push me as I heard the metal creak and the bars sway from the force. Neither of us cared, we were having too much fun.

My legs kicked like the force of a storm as I swung higher into the air. I floated with the clouds before grazing the sand and back up again to the heavens. The swing set squeaked and shifted slightly off the ground. Excitement bubbled within me and poured out as Joshua continued pushing me. "Do you want a turn?" I laughed, my head thrown back, screaming up at the sun in pure glory. I didn't really mean it, but had been taught it was polite to share.

"Olivia!" I heard my mother's voice and glanced around the park. Joshua's hands immediately dropped to his side. My feet grazed the ground as I slowly stood, swaying slightly from dizziness.

"Over here!" I called waving back, wondering what was going on. My mother looked terrified. I hadn't told her where I was, but most afternoons she worked. Her cheeks had drained of color. Her eyes, usually bright and filled with wonder, glistened with tears. She rushed toward me and threw her arms around my tiny frame. She buried her face in my neck, and I felt her shudder. My neck felt wet as I tried to pull back from her tight grasp. "Mom?" My own voice caught in my throat, and I felt my stomach somersault. "What is it?" I asked afraid to know, yet at the same moment desperately wanting an answer.

"Oh, darling," she purred against my neck, her fingers holding the back of my head. I couldn't fathom what could be so awful. From a distance I could see a rising plume of smoke. I swallowed the lump in my throat. "I'm so sorry," she told me, incapable of saying the words aloud.

I opened my mouth, finding it nearly impossible to ask. I choked the words out in a sob, "Is it Dad?" His office was in the direction of the towering smoke.

She nodded ever so faintly, her face red and stained with tears as she pulled me tightly to her chest again. "I'm so sorry, Olive." I didn't understand how he could be here one minute and gone the next. Why would he leave me? My legs gave out as I fell to the ground in a heap. Every ounce of pain poured out as I struggled to breathe. Unable to walk or move from the little bit of earth beneath me, my mother carried me home. I sobbed into her shoulder the entire three blocks as I felt her breath catch every so often.

�She let me sleep in her bed that night as the tears refused to slow.

As dawn broke, I stayed in the house watching from the sofa as my mother would come and go making arrangements for the funeral. I could see down the road, only as far as the oaks, and every time she'd turn the corner and disappear, I'd wonder if she would be gone forever. I had no idea what would happen to me if she did. Children weren't parentless in Genesis. I did not want to imagine being forced from my home and given to a new family, one I didn't know.

On the third day, my mother dressed me all in black from a gown delivered by the Keepers. "Mom?" My voice barely reached her ears, and she glanced at me once with red-rimmed eyes before disappearing into her bedroom.

For never having known anyone to die, I had no idea what to expect. The doorbell sounded and though we hardly ever had visitors, I approached without hesitation, throwing the door open. Joshua stood with his mother and father just beyond the porch.

"We're very sorry for your loss," his mother told me. They all stood wearing the same deep shade of black. I opened my mouth to ask what it meant, but the words never came. "Is your mother ready?"

"Ready for what?" I asked conflicted. No one was ready for my father to die, if that was what she'd meant. I shook my head once before glancing down the hall seeing her emerge in a black dress.

"Yes, I am," my mother insisted as she slipped on her shoes by the door. "Thank you," she told them curtly. I didn't understand what they were doing here or why my mother was thanking them. My eyes glanced at Joshua and then at my mother. Before I could so much as ask, I felt her hand grab my arm, pushing me out the door. "It's time to say goodbye." At first I thought she meant to Joshua until I felt her reach down and grip my hand as we walked as a group further towards the south side of town.

It didn't take long for me to realize where we were heading � the cemetery filled with old graves and rotting corpses. I didn't want to go. I didn't want this to be the end. My father deserved better.

I swallowed back the tears, unwilling to let Joshua or anyone else see me grieve. No one else shared in the pain I felt. Losing a parent was devastating. As we approached the gravesite, the closed wooden casket sat just above the ground and my knees locked in place. Joshua and his family walked to the opposite side as a few others gathered around. Thunder rumbled overhead as gray clouds filled the sky. The world was in mourning.

"Gavin Parker will always be remembered as a fallen hero," Governor Craynor read the words from a crinkled half-torn piece of paper. I wondered who wrote it. "In a tragic accident, we find solace in those he saved from smoke and flames."

�I squeezed my eyes, wanting to open them and willing him to be here again. With every wish and breath, nothing changed. The distant thunder turned to rain as I shivered and pulled my arms tightly around myself. My eyes glanced up from the wooden box to Joshua standing just on the other side. For a boy I hardly knew, I didn't understand why he was here.

"Would anyone else like to say a few words?" Governor Craynor asked as his eyes landed on my mother during the funeral. A sob escaped her lips. She made no attempt to move any closer and shook her head just the slightest bit, unable to speak. "Very well," he continued, "Gavin will be remembered for his strength, his spirit and everlasting support to our community. If he were here today, he would tell you 'be brave, stay strong.' Even in great times of struggle, he put others before himself. It is with great sadness that his selflessness is what brings us here today, as we lay to rest Gavin Parker."

The rain pelted my skin as we stood among the earth, watching as they lowered his coffin to the ground. It didn't feel like goodbye. There were no 'I love you' or last kisses exchanged. I should have known that, but when you're five, it's hard to know what other people think and feel.

I cried the entire time his body was lowered down. My tears mixed with rain, and as they slid down my face, I made no attempt to wipe the pain and agony I felt at losing my father. I shivered from the cool autumn air and rain but didn't feel anything but loss.

Neighbors and friends tossed dirt onto the coffin, including my own mother. I couldn't take it anymore. "I hate you!" I screamed out of anger. I was angry at my father for dying and even angrier at my mother for not protecting me from the pain. My body flopped onto the ground just inches from the hole where his coffin rested beneath the soil.

I didn't care about the black dress I wore or the fact I was now covered in mud, sobbing as other members in our town began gaping at me.

I was a child who had lost her father. No words or condolences would fix that and sadly no one seemed to try. My own mother � broken and shocked from my words and the loss of her husband � stood out in the freezing rain, eyes transfixed on the ground. She didn't move to get me, didn't dare look at me as I wished for the briefest of moments it had been me lying in that grave.

Someone’s touch jolted me upright. "Don't!" I screamed. I took off running far from the gravesite. My feet slipped on mud, but I regained my traction as I found a large oak to shelter me from the wrath of the storm.

My body collapsed, my back against the stump as I pulled my knees to my chest. I shivered and wailed, unable to stop my tears. My father was gone. It was a fact I would have to face. It wasn't fair.

I don't know how much time passed before I heard his voice, the softest whisper against the sound of steady rain and thunder.

"I'm sorry, Olive." I had buried my face in my legs, wrapped my arms tight around myself trying to keep warm. I was shivering. Slowly I eased my head, sniffling as Joshua stood above me. His own eyes were red and I wondered why he was upset. He hadn't lost anyone. I didn't answer him. My throat was raw from screaming and the tears just kept coming harder and faster. "Can I sit with you?" he asked. Before I opened my mouth to answer, he sat down beside me and his shoulder brushed against mine. I felt the strangest spark as he stared at me, eyes filled with hope. He didn't have to say a word because I understood. He was there for me.


CHAPTER 1

Lying on my stomach beneath the tall oak tree, the branches covered the morning sun as I glanced behind me at Joshua. He had made himself content, lying with his head in the small of my back. I nearly laughed as he situated himself as if it was completely normal and something we usually did. It wasn’t.

“Comfortable?” I laughed, looking back as his legs stretched out just past the shade, his feet in the sun. My fingers moved through the blades of grass, playing with them as I spoke.

“I am, actually.” He nodded and though I couldn’t see his movements I could feel them. It was strange and oddly calming.

“I’m not ready for today,” I whispered, afraid someone else might overhear my fear. I knew no one else was nearby, but I still found it hard to voice.

He reached for my hand, finding my fingers and giving a tentative squeeze. “I don’t think any of us are,” he confessed. “I keep thinking how everything is about to change for us.” He paused before casting a glance at me. I could feel him staring, even as I avoided making eye contact. "We could always refuse the match."

I scoffed at the idea, "And die in the Gravelands?" I shook my head once. "No thanks." I wasn't looking forward to getting married. It was the requirement of the government for those who turned eighteen.

Joshua moved to sit up. Immediately, I felt the loss of his body’s warmth against mine. "Maybe it won't be such a terrible waste," he suggested. "There must be a few guys you wouldn't mind being matched with?" Sixteen boys and sixteen girls were part of the marriage ceremony: our entire graduating class.

"Right," I sighed thinking it over. I knew the boys in our class, but I couldn’t imagine seeing any of them every day, let alone sharing a home with one of them. It was preposterous.

"You're telling me you've never thought about today?" Josh asked with mild curiosity. We've always known the day would come, that our match would be one of the sixteen from our school. It would be a lie to tell him I never wondered who I'd marry. Joshua smiled brightly. "I always imagined you'd be my match."

"Really?" I felt the slightest bit of warmth spread across my cheeks that he would want to spend the rest of his life with me.

He laughed nudging my arm. "No." I tried not to hide the embarrassment coloring my face as I stared down at the grass. "Come on, wouldn't that be weird?" Joshua smiled at me. "We're best friends. It's not natural."

I bit down hard on my bottom lip to keep from crying. I didn't quite understand what I felt, but I needed to keep my emotions from surfacing. Ignoring Joshua beside me, I glanced up from the grass and across the land at the graveyard, my father's home, just a few yards away.

I closed my eyes, feeling the ache in my heart returning.

"Mom, please you have to come with me," I begged. My hands held purple and blue wildflowers I'd spent all afternoon picking with Joshua's help. Today was the first anniversary of my father's death, and I wanted to celebrate in a way of sorts.

"I'm not going there, I have too much to do." She shook her head once and walked into the kitchen further away from me. She dug through the fridge, but it was too early to make dinner. She was stalling. Even I could see that.

I followed her, flowers in hand and placed them on the counter. "What else do you have to do, Mom? What could be more important?" My eyes pleaded with her to come with me to his grave. I wanted to remember him as he was and shower his home with flowers.

"You wouldn't understand. You're a child," she scolded me. "Now get the flowers off the table and go wash up for dinner."

My hands ripped the flowers from the counter. I took off running out of the house toward the cemetery. Tears burned my eyes and ran down my cheeks as I stomped through the graveyard over dying grass searching for his resting place.

Finding it, I dropped to my knees, the flowers spilling from my hands. "I'm so sorry, Dad. I wanted her to come, but she couldn't. She was too busy � you know how she is." I wiped the tears away as I fixed the flowers on the ground and rearranged them properly. "I love you so much." I sniffled once, shivering from the cold autumn air, but refused to leave.

My body froze in place, feeling a warm gloved hand on my shoulder. I glanced back surprised to see Joshua, his blue eyes staring down at me as he sat beside me on the ground. "Hi, Mr. Parker."

"Olive?" I felt Joshua's voice in my head and shook it once bringing myself back. The sun felt warm, and I realized now he’d placed his arm around my shoulder. "You spaced out for a minute."

"I guess I did," I whispered, glancing from the graves back down to the grass. I didn't want to tell him it was a welcome escape from what he'd said just moments ago� that he’d joked about us being matched and then seemed somehow repulsed by it.

He nodded slowly, keeping me close beside him. "There are a few girls I wouldn't mind being matched with this afternoon," he confessed, bringing us right back where we started. I wasn't sure I was grateful for the conversation, but I also didn't want him to see he'd hurt me. I was sure it wasn't intentional. He'd been joking. "I just keep thinking, what if they refuse me?"

"What?" That caught me off-guard. It was unheard of to refuse your match. It wasn't illegal, per se, but it might as well have been. If you denied the match, then you were defying the government of Cabal, which ruled our town of Genesis. The law stated someone could choose not to marry, but then the government no longer had the need to represent that person. As such, the unmarried were banished from any and all government cities and forced to reside in the Gravelands. Anyone who was sent beyond the walls without food or transportation would die. It was no secret that starvation and dehydration would likely be the first to kill you.

"I'm worried one of the girls might look at me and not want to marry me," Joshua repeated. He must have thought I hadn't heard him. I had. I just couldn't fathom who would ever turn their match down. I'd never seen it happen, but long before I was born, there were stories of it.

"Oh, come on." I rolled my eyes and nudged him. His grip on my shoulders loosened, and I wrapped an arm around his waist. My head came to rest on his shoulder as I let out a soft sigh. "No one would rather seek death than marry you." I laughed softly. "You're not that bad of a catch."

Joshua laughed under his breath. "Thanks."

"I'm serious." I smiled glancing at him from his shoulder. "You're a really nice guy. Besides, marriage isn't like�" I paused unwilling to finish the sentence.

"What?" Joshua waited for me to continue.

I couldn't very well confess I'd been reading illegal texts. I chewed my lip anxiously trying to reconsider my words. "Marriage is just about sharing a house and food together. It's not like it used to be."

Joshua stared, waiting for me to elaborate. I wasn't the best consoler. “After today,” Joshua whispered, “You and me, we won’t be able to do this.”

"I know." I sighed. Just thinking about it made me miss him already. “It’s not like we’re doing anything wrong,” I reminded him as much as myself. We merely spent time together.

"The government won't see it like that," Joshua reminded me. "They'd charge us with adultery." It was an unwelcome reminder of the perfect system.

I knew he was right. It was a dangerous game we’d been playing for years. Although it wasn’t forbidden to befriend a member of the opposite sex, it was frowned upon. I never quite understood why, until today.

Hesitantly, I pulled back giving Joshua a shy smile. “I should head home before Mom worries.” If I left now, I could shower and be ready in time for the marriage ceremony. “I’ll see you later.” I smiled, giving a wave as I headed through the graveyard towards home. Already I missed Joshua with his dark hair and eyes as blue as the sky, I felt my heart leap in a strange unexplainable way. I hated to think that after today I would probably never see him again.

I gazed into the mirror, saddened by my reflection. My hair, though still damp after my shower, was a shade darker than its usual warm honey. My eyes seemed a muted shade of green, duller and less intense, matching my sour mood. I didn't feel pretty and I wondered if the boy I was matched to would think the same of me.

I missed my father. It had been thirteen years since he'd died. I'd come to terms with his passing, accepted his fate as no other choice and that I was meant for new beginnings.

The only problem was the government officials had their own minds made up about our fate. My stomach tensed with butterflies as I swallowed my nerves as best I could.

I opened my closet, surprised to find a white gown staring back at me. My favorite part of the dress was the bottom and sleeves covered in lace. One of the Keepers must have brought it in while I was out. It took only a matter of seconds for me toss my towel and slip into the dress. The white cotton material reached just past my knees. In the corner of the room on the floor sat a pair of white heels. I knew they were left for me, but I doubted I'd be capable of wearing them. I slid my feet into the shoes, stumbling slightly as I tried to walk the length of the bedroom. I glanced at my reflection in the mirror, the gown fit perfectly and as I twirled, a faint smile spread across my face.

"You look beautiful." My mother grinned as she watched from the door. Our school uniforms were usually muted gray. Work attire was provided by the government-based on job position, but white was never a color. It was reserved for the marriage ceremony. I felt incredibly awkward in a dress. However, I knew the other girls would be wearing the same and took comfort in their pain.

My blonde hair was down past my shoulders and my mother ushered me into her bathroom, grabbing her hair dryer and curling iron. "Are you excited?" she asked as she dried my hair and then curled the ends, barely leaving me time to speak. "I bet you're thrilled. I remember my marriage ceremony like it was yesterday. Your father looked so handsome when he came up on stage. All I could think about was how lucky I was to have the government choose him for me." She let large curls hang several inches past my shoulders before nodding in approval when she was finished. "Oh, one more thing. Almost forgot!" She held up one finger to tell me not to move.

"Mom?" I called back, wondering where she went. She rushed back to me, bringing a bobby pin and purple wildflower into the bathroom. It took only a minute for her to clip it into my hair.

"Perfect." She admired her work before ushering me out the door. "You can't be late!" I rolled my eyes and groaned in protest. I knew I shouldn't be mad at her, but it was hard not to be. I dreaded what the afternoon would bring.

Walking outside, our neighbors did the same. Those with children in the graduating class joined the front of the stage, and their families were just behind them in the city square. Those not participating stood farthest back and watched with great admiration. Gradually, I approached the front and walked up the stairs as I took my place on the stage. The girls from my class all gathered, one by one. My eyes searched the crowd for a recognizable face to calm my nerves. I spotted my mother standing proudly alone. My eyes scanned the front row of potential candidates. They were all dressed the same in midnight black suits. It took less than a second to find his dark brown hair in the crowd. Joshua's blue eyes pierced through mine and I wondered if he was as nervous as I felt. He looked good. I wanted to give him a smile or a brief wave, but all I could do was lock eyes on him as we stared at one another.

I knew I should be happy, but all I could feel was nauseated. I swallowed the bile rising in my throat. I felt as though I'd been tossed on a ship in the middle of a hurricane, swaying violently from side-to-side. On one side is Governor Craynor and the other is the husband I'm forced to marry. My stomach shifted in waves, and my skin grew ashen and clammy. My hands trembled as I tried to stay strong, but I felt as though I was failing miserably. I let my mind wander as I did my best to calm my nerves. If I had the choice, who would I choose to marry? Glancing towards Governor Craynor, the thought vanished as he studied the list of names on the sheet in front of him. I was the fourth in line � the fourth to be chosen and married off today. I knew I shouldn't be nervous, but not knowing what awaited made me want to vomit. I studied the sixteen faces in the crowd of familiar boys. I was sickened to think I could be married to Levi Keller, the most obnoxious and gross boy in school.

I grimaced as my teacher Ms. Steiner informed us we would be reading in pairs. We had just learned our alphabet last year, and I wasn't the strongest reader. I didn't even like reading, but Mom would occasionally sit me down with the Genesis Times to read what our government told us was going on in the world. In Ms. Steiner's class, we had textbooks. I sat beside Levi trying my best not to be repulsed. His hair was dark and matted down to his skin. Though I knew his natural color was blonde, it had been a long time since he'd bathed. Dirt licked his face and hands. I raised my hand, hoping Ms. Steiner would call on me. She ignored me. I would have played sick, asked to go to the nurse because I wasn't feeling very well. I didn't think she'd believe me, but I didn't want to sit next to Levi. He reached towards me, poking me in the arm

"Why's the hand up, Olivia?" Levi's eyes narrowed tilting his head studying me. "Afraid I have germs?" He laughed and the rest of classroom erupted in nervous laughter. They all must have felt it, too, didn't they? No one wanted to ever be paired with Levi Keller. Today I was the unlucky chosen one. I felt my cheeks redden in embarrassment. He scooted his chair closer to me and the putrid stench only made my stomach somersault. Maybe I really would get sick and go home.

"Forget it," I muttered. I was better than this. Better than him. He couldn't scare me. I grimaced when I felt him push the edge of the book into my arm. I knew he did it intentionally.

"Start reading, Olivia." He pushed the open pages in front of me. "One of us has to do the work. It isn't going to be me." He smirked as I studied the letters on the page. I leaned closer, trying to focus, quietly sounding out the words as I felt him grip onto my pigtails and pull.

"Oww!" I squealed as the pain radiated up into my head.

He snorted like a pig, mocking me.

I jerked around, my fist finding his face as I pummeled him once. It was all it took for Ms. Steiner to scold me and send me home for the day.

I didn't want to imagine a life tied with Levi because the government thought we were the perfect match. My eyes scoured the stage and then the mass of people standing before us. I could deny the match but what then? I'd be immediately escorted to the gate and left on my own to die out there alone. I'd never see my mother again.

There had to be another way. Pretending to marry would at least buy me time to pack some food and water. I could say goodbye or maybe even convince my mother to come with me. She'd understand, wouldn't she? Then we'd climb the wall or find a way to forge through the entrance. It was an impossible task but less revolting than marrying Levi Keller.

The Governor read off the first name, "Janessa Becker," and a silence filled the city square as anticipation edged from the boys waiting to see who would marry her. She was a nice enough girl with porcelain skin, auburn hair and freckles. She'd never done anything wrong to me, but we weren't best friends. The Governor adjusted his spectacles while reading the names, "Martin Scavenger." A soft clapping erupted through the crowd whether they wanted to celebrate the news or not. Martin caught sight of Janessa and stepped away from the boys and made his approach toward the stairs. The Governor waited until Martin made his way up the platform and stood before Janessa, reading off the second girl’s name.

Two additional girls’ names followed as did the boys’. None of the girls had been paired with Levi. I knew my turn was next and held my breath. Levi was a bully. In all our years of schooling he'd never changed. I'd witnessed him pick on the younger children at the playground. Maybe I should have stopped him. Maybe I should have stood up and done something different. I couldn't change the past any more than I could change where I was right now.

Governor Craynor read off my name next, "Olivia Parker." I stood awkwardly staring down at the boys who were still available. I could deal with most of the other boys in school. Marriage, though, seemed like such a long time with someone you had to tolerate. My eyes scoured the crowd seeing a guard a few feet from my mother. What would happen to her if I refused my match? I knew the guard was watching the ceremony and not standing by the gates because his daughter was on the platform today, to the right of me. Was he not still on duty? He was dressed in the black Cabal uniform with a gun slung over his back. I doubted he would be so forgiving.

I wondered if Governor Craynor remembered me from all those years ago, reading my father's eulogy at the funeral. He hardly interacted with the townspeople. He liked to stay pent up in his mansion. For a system where everyone was treated equally and provided the same things, Governor Craynor lived in the largest, most elegant home in Genesis, the Governor's Mansion. It wrapped around the street with a private swimming pool in the back, and several people in town worked for him, cooking and cleaning. It was no secret he thought of himself as better than us. I had no idea what he did as Governor, but I didn't imagine it involved much work. His responsibility was supposed to be to the people. I couldn't remember a time when he’d ever done anything to help the people of Genesis. He seemed more about controlling us and instilling order. I doubted he had any real training to be a leader and half-wondered how a man of such power came into the position of Governor. I couldn't remember a time when anyone else had ever watched over our town. I knew there were other Governors in the other cities, but didn't know who they were. Once a year, sometime in the early spring there was a Governor's Ball when they'd all visit our town. Very little work was done � mostly it was an elaborate party to celebrate how fortunate we all were.

I despised Governor Craynor. I had no personal reason to hate him. He'd never spoken directly to me and I doubted he ever would again after today. He was plump and graying, and his voice was gruff. I was almost certain as he spoke, I could hear a slight slur in his speech and wondered if he'd had too much grog. I'd heard of people getting sick from grog, but I'd never tasted it, nor had I ever seen it in our home. The government provided our food � it was unlikely the people would ever get anything more than we absolutely needed.

I realized I had let my mind wander and glanced back at Governor Craynor as he used his spectacles to read the name of the person I would be marrying. He took a moment and I was sure the air had left my lungs and I would pass out. My heart quickened and my eyes widened, leaning forward. My hands were visibly shaking, and I felt more than just nervous. I felt sick. I gasped as I heard his name, "Joshua Warren."

I couldn't believe what I

SL on 07/11/2014 02:43pm
I loved this story. It had action, it had romance. It was a post war, every man or group for themselves. There is the government, rebels, and special ops groups. All had a different agenda. Each group was striving to get the upper hand in the chaos. The book was well written. It made you care for the characters and the betrayal they felt. Olive and Josh had been friends since three years old. They shared their thoughts and secrets and love. They were told who to marry. There was no sex or touching in marriage, only working together in the state assigned partnership. Babies were made in test tubes. Olive was different. She had been conceived the normal way. You felt for her. She didn’t find out about any of this until she was arrested with her mother on her state assigned wedding day. She was arrested because she was born in the normal way and shouldn’t have been allowed to live. Every group either wanted her dead or forcing her to have babies to spark the rebellion. Everyone had an agenda. It is a story of their running from one fire into another. Not sure who was friend or foe. Olive and Josh letting their guard down, only to find out that the group they ran to had its own agenda. There is the normal love growing as they face danger. The story ends in kind of a cliff hanger. You are almost on the edge of your seat waiting to see if they are with friend or foe again. It was a well thought out story.
SL on 07/11/2014 02:43pm
I loved this story. It had action, it had romance. It was a post war, every man or group for themselves. There is the government, rebels, and special ops groups. All had a different agenda. Each group was striving to get the upper hand in the chaos. The book was well written. It made you care for the characters and the betrayal they felt. Olive and Josh had been friends since three years old. They shared their thoughts and secrets and love. They were told who to marry. There was no sex or touching in marriage, only working together in the state assigned partnership. Babies were made in test tubes. Olive was different. She had been conceived the normal way. You felt for her. She didn۪t find out about any of this until she was arrested with her mother on her state assigned wedding day. She was arrested because she was born in the normal way and shouldn۪t have been allowed to live. Every group either wanted her dead or forcing her to have babies to spark the rebellion. Everyone had an agenda. It is a story of their running from one fire into another. Not sure who was friend or foe. Olive and Josh letting their guard down, only to find out that the group they ran to had its own agenda. There is the normal love growing as they face danger. The story ends in kind of a cliff hanger. You are almost on the edge of your seat waiting to see if they are with friend or foe again. It was a well thought out story.
Cassie on 07/09/2014 08:44am
This was just an okay read. It was fast-paced, with a fair number of twists and turns, and was involving enough to keep a reader entertained. Unfortunately, both writing and story were on the simplistic side. I found the characters likable, but they suffered from the shallowness of the storytelling. Their motives weren’t examined deeply, their emotional reactions weren’t believable, and their actions weren’t very well thought-through. They seemed to pretty much float through the story, reacting to what happened around them rather than thinking and deciding on a course of action. The plot had potential, but ended up full of cliches and logical holes. As an obvious example, the idea of the government choosing who a person marries is a bit cliche (Matched, anyone?), but it could have worked here if we were given a good reason for it. However, the reason we’re given makes no sense. A breeding program. Okay. But no one actually ‘breeds’. It’s all done in a lab. So why the need for marriage? On a side note, if no one is allowed a second child, and all children must be conceived in vitro, why do second children even exist? Confusing. Also, I never could quite figure out what the Rebel Alliance was all about (not to mention the name is distracting). Who are they, and, frankly, why are they rebelling if the government is leaving them alone? This supposedly cruel and oppressive government clearly knows there are large ‘rebel’ settlements, but they don’t do anything to interfere with them — we’re even told they mostly ignore them…. And, by the way, how are the rebels getting children? Do they have their own in vitro labs? They seem to have quite a lot of advanced technology (not suffering a huge amount of deprivation, it seems), including a teleporation device that for some reason our fleeing heroes are not put through. Perhaps some of these questions will be answered in the sequels, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope, except maybe for more details on the rebels. I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll actually read the sequels. Overall, I would say this is a decent book for a very light read, for someone who enjoys the young adult dystopian sub-genre, but for anyone looking too closely, it could be a disappointment. *I recieved this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.*
Cassie on 07/09/2014 08:44am
This was just an okay read. It was fast-paced, with a fair number of twists and turns, and was involving enough to keep a reader entertained. Unfortunately, both writing and story were on the simplistic side. I found the characters likable, but they suffered from the shallowness of the storytelling. Their motives weren۪t examined deeply, their emotional reactions weren۪t believable, and their actions weren۪t very well thought-through. They seemed to pretty much float through the story, reacting to what happened around them rather than thinking and deciding on a course of action. The plot had potential, but ended up full of cliches and logical holes. As an obvious example, the idea of the government choosing who a person marries is a bit cliche (Matched, anyone?), but it could have worked here if we were given a good reason for it. However, the reason we۪re given makes no sense. A breeding program. Okay. But no one actually breeds۪. It۪s all done in a lab. So why the need for marriage? On a side note, if no one is allowed a second child, and all children must be conceived in vitro, why do second children even exist? Confusing. Also, I never could quite figure out what the Rebel Alliance was all about (not to mention the name is distracting). Who are they, and, frankly, why are they rebelling if the government is leaving them alone? This supposedly cruel and oppressive government clearly knows there are large rebel۪ settlements, but they don۪t do anything to interfere with them we۪re even told they mostly ignore them_. And, by the way, how are the rebels getting children? Do they have their own in vitro labs? They seem to have quite a lot of advanced technology (not suffering a huge amount of deprivation, it seems), including a teleporation device that for some reason our fleeing heroes are not put through. Perhaps some of these questions will be answered in the sequels, but I۪m not holding out a lot of hope, except maybe for more details on the rebels. I still haven۪t decided whether or not I۪ll actually read the sequels. Overall, I would say this is a decent book for a very light read, for someone who enjoys the young adult dystopian sub-genre, but for anyone looking too closely, it could be a disappointment. *I recieved this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.*
Ria on 07/06/2014 06:45pm
A futuristic YA novel based on the journey of newlyweds, as they try to find a future together. A major portion of the story provided insight to Josh and Olive's thoughts. Readers were able to use this to rationalize actions and decisions. The storyline was interesting as different adventures led them to a new town. There were times when a situation could have lent itself to more excitement, such as when they met Milo. I felt that the author could have expanded on those encounters. However, with the audience in mind, I would recommend this as an interesting read for young adults.
Ria on 07/06/2014 06:45pm
A futuristic YA novel based on the journey of newlyweds, as they try to find a future together. A major portion of the story provided insight to Josh and Olive's thoughts. Readers were able to use this to rationalize actions and decisions. The storyline was interesting as different adventures led them to a new town. There were times when a situation could have lent itself to more excitement, such as when they met Milo. I felt that the author could have expanded on those encounters. However, with the audience in mind, I would recommend this as an interesting read for young adults.
Ria on 07/06/2014 06:37pm
A futuristic YA novel based on the journey of newlyweds, as they try to find a future together. A major portion of the story provided insight to Josh and Olive's thoughts. Readers were able to use this to rationalize actions and decisions. The storyline was interesting as different adventures led them to a new town. There were times when a situation could have lent itself to more excitement, such as when they met Milo. I felt that the author could have expanded on those encounters. However, with the audience in mind, I would recommend this as an interesting read for young adults.
Ria on 07/06/2014 06:37pm
A futuristic YA novel based on the journey of newlyweds, as they try to find a future together. A major portion of the story provided insight to Josh and Olive's thoughts. Readers were able to use this to rationalize actions and decisions. The storyline was interesting as different adventures led them to a new town. There were times when a situation could have lent itself to more excitement, such as when they met Milo. I felt that the author could have expanded on those encounters. However, with the audience in mind, I would recommend this as an interesting read for young adults.
Peggy on 05/02/2014 09:53am
Not the usual type of book I expect when ordering from Blushing Books. It was not spanking or erotic. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series and read all three books in a matter of hours. More please....
Peggy on 05/02/2014 09:53am
Not the usual type of book I expect when ordering from Blushing Books. It was not spanking or erotic. Therefore, imagine my surprise when I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series and read all three books in a matter of hours. More please....

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