Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.
Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.
Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.
The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk—a scientist being groomed by The Ten—convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.
As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer—someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.
Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.
“. . . the first in what has the potential to be a fascinating trilogy of general appeal. McGee’s simple narrative belies the novel’s complexity, a factor that will make this intriguing book accessible to a wide variety of teen readers.” —Booklist
McGee (Right Where I Belong) pitches readers into a dystopian future in which a logical and rigid state sustains the remnants of humanity after nuclear war has devastated the surface world. The Ten Scientists who are the de facto rulers of the State have attempted to weed out emotion from the survivors. Thalli, a musician, manages to conceal her emotions and curiosity until she is asked to perform a Bach piece, whereby her abnormality is revealed. Her incarceration and looming execution spark a dangerous partnership with a childhood friend turned-Scientist; raise questions about the nature of existence, suffering, and the afterlife; and suggest a Designer more powerful than the Scientists. Though Thalli's "conversion" after learning of the Designer is underdeveloped, McGee successfully asks readers to consider both what it means to act (or not act) on human emotions and the role such emotions play in relationships with God. Ages 12 up.
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This book is awesome
This book is awesome. I spent 1 1/2 days glued to this book and I couldn't put it down. I could read this a million times and it still wouldn't get old. I would recommend this book to everyone 11 and up.