I haven't read a lot of dystopian books but enjoy the dark glimpses of the future and the hope that is still to be found regardless in the ones I have read. That's why this book appealed to me and made it onto my TBR list.
HELPER12 is a baby helper, taking care of little ones up to the age of 6 mths. Once they get to that age they are tracked and their future is determined by what vocation they are given. Will they be a Thinker, a Breeder, a Leisure Doll or one of many other designations? HELPER12 realises that despite not being allowed to do many things, including express herself creatively or build relationships, being a baby helper is far from the worst vocation to have.
However when Society family the Sloanes appear on her ward both she and baby Jobee (who would have been designated a number once tracked) are sold in an illegal adoption. Moving into the Sloanes house she thinks the rich must have the perfect life but comes to realise money doesn't equate to happiness. Her life becomes even more complicated when she realises she is bonding with Jobee and loves him, and as she develops a tentative friendship with the Sloane's biological son Thomas.
The world that Blaine has created is depressing, with a person's entire life controlled by the career they are allocated. Freedom of expression is long gone, and what people do is monitored constantly by cameras, with dire consequences for those who break the rules. The technology and the surroundings presented sound familiar which probably helps make this future sound all the more plausible. Yet despite this there is some happiness to be found, and hope springs eternal.
I thought the characters were really well done, and found that although HELPER12 has had limited experience of life outside her cube and is quite naive and joyful at the new things she sees she is also very perceptive. I found myself so attached to her and Thomas that when things looked like they would go wrong for them I had that leaden feeling in the pit of my stomach. On the other hand we have characters like the Director who is happy to arrange the illegal adoption, and Mrs Sloane who seems to immediately tire of her new baby, representing what is wrong with the society presented.
This isn't a particularly long book, but I think the reason I romped through it in a matter of hours had more to do with my being hooked. I was unable to put it down until I had completed it. I thought this was another polished book and would happily recommend it.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 5*