by Ruth Silver
Published: April 28th 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.
With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.
Joshua and I both headed out of the council hall with Jacqueline leading the way. The line of young men had barely dwindled. I avoided their stare, their curiosity as they slowly proceeded forward, giving the attendant their name. I wondered how they knew about me and more importantly what they knew. Jacqueline walked a few feet ahead of us, giving us privacy to talk. I silently thanked her for still respecting us and our wishes. She was probably the only one in Haven who liked us. I didn’t know if I should be relieved or angered by the recent news. I could feel the whispers, like tingles against bare skin as we walked further from council hall and rounded the corner. I was grateful to be out of sight from all those curious stares. "I guess we should consider ourselves lucky," I remarked. I didn't feel lucky. I tried to sound upbeat, but everything was quickly falling apart around us.
Joshua scoffed at the idea. "Lucky? I wouldn't go that far," he emphasized. "This is how it starts. Eventually, they'll make it a crime for us to see one another." He sounded disgusted.
"They sort of already are," I remarked, trying to understand the council's decision. "I think they just want to make sure I'm protected." Though I didn't quite understand how setting me up to meet multiple bachelors was any form of protection. It seemed as if they only wanted to keep Joshua away from me. The one person I could trust, implicitly. I knew the rules were different because I was different. They didn’t seem particularly bothered by Joshua having a girl in his room. It didn’t seem fair.
"Seems like they don't really care what we think at all," Joshua retorted as we headed into our building. "Were you okay last night? I worried when Landon escorted you out of the dormitory."
I walked slowly up the stairs, Jacqueline just a few feet ahead of us. "Aside from being locked in a room with no windows." I sighed. "At least they're giving me freedom from the tech center and a real bed. I should be grateful," I mocked. I didn't feel grateful, but I knew his mother at least tried to make it easier for me. As soon as we crested the top stair, I froze in place. The building shook with an alarming intensity as the first drone flew low overhead. The downstairs chandelier swayed and I held onto Joshua's arm and my eyes widened in terror. "What do you think is going on?" I asked watching the movement grow stronger as vibrations echoed through the dormitory. A nearby painting affixed to the wall crashed to the floor, the glass breaking. I could feel the ground quake beneath my feet as Joshua grabbed my hand, refusing to let go.
"We're being attacked." It wasn't a question. Together, we jogged briskly down the hall toward our rooms. I didn't know how much time we had. All I knew was the government was here, and they were searching for me!
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