Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released: November 15, 2011
Page #: 323
Source: My public library
"In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking in their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max, who speaks a language she's never heard before... and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills become real emergencies and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime."__________________________________________
"The air crackled like a gathering thunderstorm the moment the girl entered the chamber. She was just a child, but her presence changed everything."Page 3
This book has made me realize that I need to read everything written by Kimberly Derting, STAT. I had looked into her other stuff before, but had I known her writing was so good... I wouldn't have waited.
So, this is the story of Charlie who lives in a world where the classes are distinguished by separate languages - and schools, and lives, and everything. The lower classes are not supposed to understand what each of the upper classes are saying - but Charlie does. And in her world, that is punishable by death. Her family goes to great lengths to hide what she can do, but when the powers that be begin warring with each other, her secret is found out. And what it MEANS and what it makes her...
There is a surprise around every corner in this book - lots of secrets being revealed - all the way to the ending. I had lots of "Oh no she didn't..." and "Wait, they're what?!" moments. There were a few that I saw coming - that were built to so you kinda realized before you're hit with the truth. Others were so out of the blue that I got startled by them. Many of them changed the entire tone of the story for me. I almost need to re-read the whole book knowing what I know now about the characters.
That being said, I loved the characters. Even the people who are secondary to the main story hold a huge role at some point - the friends, the enemies, the military... they are all so distinct, you can't help but notice them. I feel like that is the mark of an awesomely written story.
The world these people live in is so vivid and realistic, it almost hurts. On one hand, I cannot imagine a place where people are separated so wholely that they don't even speak the same language anymore. And on the other hand, it's almost too familiar. People keep to themselves because of the penalties. There is a group that resists the entire regime - and they are the ones that set the events in motion for the end.
There's something to be said for a highly romantic book - and this one definitely fits the bill. Love in different classes might as well be love in different galaxies. Sometimes love stories can seem a bit over-affected, but I think the author did a great job. It made that part of the story feel very real and intense. Loved everything about it :).
Obviously, I'm trying not to give anything away here. The book is absolutely worth it and I highly recommend you find a copy sooner rather than later. It's a wild ride and I truly didn't want to put it down. Of course, now I'm wishing it was longer so I can delve back into it... but I guess that's just the sign of a good book. Definitely give this one a try - you won't regret it.
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