- The excerpts from city documents. On the inside cover is a map of Elysium, which was helpful for context when reading and helps solidify the world-building within the novel. At the outset of each chapter is included an excerpt from a city document, speech, or diary of one of the main characters. By knowing city laws or getting inside information about what the characters are thinking, you get an even clearer picture of the world and the characters within it.
- The "Conditioning". The most interesting and unique part of this book is the conditioning Evie is forced to endure. The fact that the main character often doesn't know her own past or motives for the things she is doing made the whole plot that much more intriguing.
- The ending. The ending is kind of cheesy, but it isn't perfect, which I really appreciated. It felt much more realistic than having everything work out.
- The instalove. I understand that Gavin is different--he's completely unlike any other boy Evie has ever encountered. That in and of itself is very appealing, but I am not sure I buy into the instant overwhelming attraction the two seem to have for one another.
- The introduction of Gavin. When Evie first encounters Gavin, the way he is described and the way she interacts with him leads the reader (well, at least this reader) to believe he is a young child. In my mind I imagined him no older than 10 years old. But we then later find out he is around her age and he becomes a love interest. The way she approaches him and interacts with him is completely different. This might be due to the fact that Evie severely lacks in social skills, particularly regarding interaction with men, but it still felt really strange.
- The oversexualization. Evie is 16. The way Evie and Gavin interact with one another and some of the random sexual innuendos scattered throughout the story felt completely inappropriate and out of place. Maybe I'm just being naive and a prude, I don't know.
- The attack on Macie. I absolutely did not understand the reaction Gavin and Evie had to Macie getting attacked. I'd say that if I was watching my best friend get strangled, I would try to help her, probably attack the person hurting her. But Gavin and Evie just stand around and yell for several minutes before taking action. This made no sense to me at all.
- The back story. At one point we are given vital information involving the back story of not only the entire city, but Evie's Mother and Father as well. Instead of pursuing further clarity of this information, Sounders has Evie completely ignore it. There is no attempt whatsoever to seek wisdom or guidance from Evie's Father, who appears to know all the answers. The only way we find out anything at all conclusive regarding the information Evie stumbled upon is through the later discovery of even more documentation. Really disappointing.
"How can you even know who you are, if you can't remember who you've been?"
This book had such rave reviews I was expecting something absolutely spectacular. I think the book had great potential, but failed to meet that potential due largely in part to two things: 1) The back story/history was never filled in by Evie's father, and 2) The oversexualization of the two main characters.