It’s the year 2140 and Longevity drugs have all but eradicated old age. A never-aging society can’t sustain population growth, however…which means Anna should never have been born. Nor should any of the children she lives with at Grange Hall. The facility is full of boys and girls whose parents chose to have kids–called surpluses–despite a law forbidding them from doing so. These children are raised as servants, and brought up to believe they must atone for their very existence. Then one day a boy named Peter appears at the Hall, bringing with him news of the world outside, a place where people are starting to say that Longevity is bad, and that maybe people shouldn’t live forever. Peter begs Anna to escape with him, but Anna’s not sure who to trust: the strange new boy whose version of life sounds like a dangerous fairy tale, or the familiar walls of Grange Hall and the head mistress who has controlled her every waking thought?
Celeste’s Review: This novel takes place in the future where longevity drugs keep people alive forever, free of disease. Now there isn’t enough room on the planet for everyone so people must sign The Declaration promising not to have children. However, some people break the law and their new children are illegal, known as Surpluses that drain resources from the Legals.
Anna is born as a surplus and accepts her life in Grange Hall where she trains to be a Valuable Asset, hoping to one day be a housekeeper for one of the Legals. She knows her life is miserable but never questions the unfairness of it all. She just wants to follow the rules and make the best of her life, so she can be as little of a burden as possible since she shouldn’t even exist in the first place.
Peter, a new and older surplus, soon arrives at Grange Hall. He has a defiant look in his eye that gets him in to trouble right away, yet I couldn’t help but root for him. He attempts to befriend Anna much to her horror, and tell her things she at first finds ludicrous. Before long though, he does get through to her and she starts to question everything. These are the moments I love in dystopian novels!
This novel was written so well that it was not hard to envision a society which had grown so selfish and dark. If you love dystopian novels you have to add this to your list.