In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
Ana is a teenager with a noose hanging over her head. She's been diagnosed as having the potential to develop one of the Big3 mental illness' that plague society and after living most of her life thinking she was a Pure and then discovering she may become a Crazies which no choice in the matter everything has changed. Her father is one of the scientist that developed the diagnosis and the discovery of the genes that are affected and so she is under the watchful eye of him, the Board and Wardens that are almost on edge to see if she is on the turn. She is preparing to be Bound to Jasper, a ceremony that starts the process of marriage, and yet she's lost as he is kidnapped with so many unanswered questions. She ventures out of the safety of her Pure world to find him in the City discovers more secrets and lies than she could have even imagined. She also finds Cole who could be more to her than she even realises when they first meet.
A dystopian with a twist you say? Set in London? Why yes I think I will give you a go. That was basically the key selling points when I heard about The Glimpse a few months ago because when you hear the word dystopian you get a few instant titles that flash up in your head but really this story had a lot of weight behind it. You could imagine it really happen if science developed ways to predetermine mental illness in people and how society at large would react. Like a lot of humanities history has shown is differences in society cause rifts, isolation and even war and more horror that is only "discovered" years later. Plus I loved that it showed the clashes in society not only down to the mental illness issues but money and power as it divides people all over the city.
The Glimpse has a special flair about it as I read more and more I found more aspects that appealed to me. At face value it may not jump out at you as much different from other YA books out there but it really is the writing that spoke to me. Claire Merle has created a superbly strong female character that deals with far more of her fair share of trouble and heart ache and yet still has an inner flame that flickers and makes her a heroine of sorts. She doesn't start out this way but as her eyes are opened to a life outside of Pures and Crazies she evolves.
I'd really love to see more of this world or even a whole new one created by Claire to just look at how her writing tackles other issues or types of people. The Glimpse tackles large social issues with grace within a thriller tale with romantic undertones. A fabulous debut that has me watching out for Claire Merle's next book already.
Published by Faber and Faber and is available here and book shops now