Title: Gem X
Author: Nicky Singer
Publisher: Holiday House
"Sixteen-year-old Maxo Strang is the most perfect human ever created. He is a GemX genotype - preposterously intelligent and physically flawless. Anything he desires is instantly available to him in the Polis, an exclusive district where only enhanced humans are allowed to live. But one afternoon something goes very wrong. Maxo discovers a small but noticeable crack in his face.
Horrified, he searches desperately for a cure but soon becomes lost in the violent and ugly streets of the naturally born Dreggies. As Maxo's reality begins to shatter, he encounters the inexplicably beautiful Gala and her brother, Stretch, two naturals on a quest of their own. Yet mortal danger soon intertwines their lives as they become pawns in a much bigger game - one that could bring disaster to both of their worlds."
This book was really very easy to get into - the story and its premise was very interesting. I'm a sucker for the whole dystopian concept. You do have to get beyond the crazy-futuristic language before you can get to the meat of the story. The whole world painted in this book was extreme and pretty unimaginable. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it - I did. To a point.
I'm not sure how much sympathy I actually felt toward the main character. It was all so unbelievable that the character of Maxo wasn't even touchable (literally, in this story). So it was a bit extreme in that way. Also, I took a pretty big issue with the ending of this book. Or perhaps its LACK of an ending. I have no idea if there is going to be a sequel, but the story just stopped - almost mid-thought. That, honestly, left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I think I will recommend this to a few of our sci-fi fans - the ones who have read pretty much everything else - because I think they will appreciate some of the more subtle story lines. But if you're looking for this type of dystopian story, might I suggest Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. Or perhaps the new Skinned series by Robin Wasserman.
There are only a couple other reviews out there you might wanna check out: Here and here.