Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s another in a long series of mind-control dystopias overcome by love. It also has a love triangle between two “good” guys, which is so cliché in YA Lit right now. The result is coherent, though, and, if not quite fresh, definitely not stale. Yet I just get the feeling that somehow it’s not my thing, even though there are no technical difficulties I can point to that make that so. The plot is tight, is not overly verbose or stale in its exposition. It is surprising yet logically follows, and shows some good worldbuilding. The characters are realistic and engaging. Vi makes good decisions for a teenager but shows that she is still young and not always thinking things entirely through. She sometimes lets her head rule her heart and sometimes she’s emotionally impulsive, something that makes me happy because real people are rarely just one or the other. She also reacts as I would expect someone who is fighting brainwashing to react. Jag is a great foil to Vi, having grown up independent and knowing inside information that makes him more confident in his reactions. I also wasn’t as annoyed at his hiding information from Vi as I usually am in these situations: for Jag it made sense because he was protecting people and wasn’t sure he could trust Vi even if he had feelings for her. I saw the exposition about Vi’s father coming from a long way off, but it only felt slightly contrived and I’ll give it a pass. Zenn was the least developed character in the book. I’m still not sure why he acts and reacts like he does in a lot of situations. I don’t think this is too bad of a thing, though, because it helps the reader to feel like Vi does: uncertain of his motivations and slow to trust. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but I suspect there is more down the road, and I think I found enough in this book that I’ll be tempted to go along for the next book in the series if it manifests itself.