I want to have fictional babies with this book. Seriously, this book combines everything I love in a good story: congruent world building, a love story that has your toes curling, a dystopian world that poses crucial ramifications for a society in general but also on an individual level, fleshed-out main and secondary characters, a ton of heartbreak and pain for our heroine to sympathize with and a fast moving plot with surprising turns and twists.
Unsurprising is not perfect. I could argue, that our main character is too Mary Poppins like, as pure and innocent as a dove, special. I could raise objection to the short time span during which the action takes place. I could. But this book was just perfect for me and I don’t care if it has some little imperfections. I loved reading this book, because Unsurprising has just the right mix of terror and hope. This book is a literary pearl to cherish in the Young Adult Dystopian Fiction.
From a technical point of view this novel is perfect: There is a great and emotional launch into the story that turns this book into a gripping page-turner from the beginning. The little snippets of sms conversations, scientific studies, laws, press releases, secret political deals and private letters at the beginning of each chapter provide fascinating general as well as individual background information. I was indeed captivated.
In Unsurprising you will meet a lot of ‘good old friends’: The minority report, House of Stairs, The Wave, Nineteen Eighty-Four, etc. This book is a very realistic and believable study on how to ostracize a certain part of the population. Of course after Hitler nobody would ever go against a religious group again but what if it was possible to determine via a DNA test, if someone is a murderer, rapist or a pedophile? DNA doesn’t lie, isn’t it so? Being publicly convicted and stigmatized because of your disposition (DNA, genetic or immune diseases) is something we all can understand. You just have to think back to the 90es, when education and information on AIDS and HIV was very basic and people tended to break out in panic. Or take another example: I remember very well as newspapers printed whole pages full of profile pictures of convicted pedophiles. Is it morally justifiable to defame and brand people in this way, even if they are guilty of crimes? Unsurprising raises all those questions, makes you think about the volatility of violent attitudes, crime, punishment, blame and prejudice in our society. This book also raises the question, if who we are is simply a question of genetics – or if, and how, we can hold on to the belief and aspire to be more than the molecular arrangement of our DNA.
Last but not least the romance was aww … so cute … Remember the tension between Michael and Nikita in La Femme Nikita?
Did I mention already I want to have babies with this book?