The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
I've become wary of starting new dystopian series because I always wonder "Will this book live up to the last one? Will it stand out?" Thankfully Eve completely drew me in and delivered on its promise to be a unique and thrilling adventure.
Eve is quite the intelligent young woman. When the novel opens, her graduation day is right around the corner and she's got the honor of graduating at the very top of her class. On almost a whim (and to prove a disparaging classmate wrong), Eve sneaks out of the dorm at night and swims across the lake to look at the "wonderful" place that she will be moving to after graduation--the magical place where she will finally be able to take up her trade. What she discovers there is absolutely beyond belief--a room full of young women, pregnant and strapped down. When she returns, clearly shaken by the experience and her discovery, a sympathetic adult helps her to escape through the wall, leaving behind her friends and the only life that she's ever known.
Eve is a character that I think readers will bond with right away. Her attachment to the memory of her mother as well as her two close friends make her likeable and realistic. Her naivete is completely reasonable because you know from the start that she's never known anything else. Seeing the world through Eve's eyes really drew me into the story and I could sympathize with her apprehensions as she struggled to make sense of new truths and survive in the harsh world outside of the school.
When Even is rescued by Caleb, we're introduced to a whole new cast of characters. Caleb is awesome. He was patient when it came to Eve's misconceptions about men and the world, but he wasn't afraid to tell her what was reality and what was a lie fed to her by the school. It's really no surprise that Eve bonds with him so well and I enjoyed watching their sweet romance blossom over time. While I loved watching Even and Caleb together, it was her interactions with the very young boys--teaching them to read and write--that really made my heart melt. It's so obvious that these little boys are looking for a loving maternal figure in their lives and Eve is truly the perfect fit.
So many things happen that I want to tell you about, but I refuse to ruin this one for you! This book is a fabulous combination of action and sweet romance with an ending that will leave you speechless (and if you're like me, in tears). I can't wait to read more in this series!