I received a copy of this book to read and review from Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. All opinions are my own.
When I initially requested this book from Netgalley I thought it was merely a story about a girl who had surgery which cured her brain disorder that caused her to be gullible and not recognize sarcasm. While that was partially what this story was about it was also much more than that. Now that idea alone would have been incredibly interesting. But add in the super strict government and this story was incredibly more interesting than I originally anticipated.
Lauren made for an amazing main character and narrator. As she began to be able to detect sarcasm and lies I was immensely saddened for her. The realization that people were laughing at her and not with her, or that her sister didn't want to walk home with her nearly had me in tears. The transformation after surgery made her incredibly perceptive and led to interesting thought about what white lies we believe because it is easier that way.
The plot was amazingly well thought out. The Department and all of its regulations were explained thoroughly, but not overly so that it bogged down the story or made it boring. It is believable to see how our country could go into that kind of state after an emergency, especially when you consider The Patriot Act that came after 9/11. When people are really scared the idea of more government security sounds comforting, not restrictive.
As for the romance.. I could see the appeal to Sasha. He was honest with her about who he was, even if she might not like the idea of an informant following her around. At times though, his motives were not entirely pure and I'm glad that she didn't blindly trust him.
This is one of the best novels that I have read in a while. I would suggest it to anyone who likes YA with a touch of science fiction. I would definitely pick up anything else written by Ari Goelman