I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
While reading All’s Fair, I also began Unforeseen (or well, vica versa). It was definitely interesting to be reading a fey YA fantasy and then jump into a YA dystopia. The differences were definitely stark. I just recently began Brandon Varnell’s A Fox’s Love, D.R Perry’s Barely Awake, and AJ Downey and Jeffrey Cook’s There But For The Grace so those reviews should hopefully be upcoming within the next week or two. (And let’s be honest, we all know I am reading more than just those three, right?)
“I’ll have to apologize and lie about being stressed or hormonal. Men usually don’t ask questions once hormones are mentioned.”
Unforeseen is the debut novel and first book in the Finding Paradise series by Allison Barnard. It takes place in what was once America, where His Excellency, President Evander Alverich rules with a (democratically elected) iron fist. After getting rid of America’s dependence on oil and isolating the country from the rest of the world, he got rid of fast food, granted tax breaks to organic farmers, and increased funding to scientists to cure diseases through genetic modification.
As he took control of the country, the upper class settled together in a walled area. Following the example, the middle-class kept to their farms and businesses, while the lower class was left to fend for themselves near the walls to Paradise. The advent of the genetic modification program, or the PrettyBaby program makes to distinguish the classes even farther as Elite favored tall, thin framed mods with dark hair and exotic eyes while the middle-class went for sturdier, blonde haired and blue eyed mods. With money being short, the lower classes just mostly leave things to chance.
Our story begins with two separate couples, one Elite and one middle-class going in to get the paperwork done for their children. Nine months later and both women go into labor on the same day, one with a boy and one with a girl.
And the nurse in charge decides to make a Switched At Birth moment.
About nineteen years later, and we meet Brandon Fletcher and Octavia Salzman. Brandon is a middle-class kid who helps run his father’s farm, but is counting down the days until he can join the military and leave. Octavia is an Elite girl who is counting down until she starts her job as a nurse. Both don’t look like the typical standards of their classes, and Octavia especially feels out of place as she is constantly teased and made fun of.
As both of them try to make their way through their own lives, a revolution is underfoot. The lower-classes, lead by the Naturalists are getting antsy and angry. The Naturalists believe that the genetic modifications are wrong and an abomination against God. As they gain traction, they begin to hack the broadcast systems and take claim for a strange disease that suddenly swipes through.
Octavia and Brandon find themselves caught up in the middle, pulled in by the same girl. As the stakes get raised and their lives get turned upside down will they manage to keep not only themselves safe, but those they love?
This was a good book. Allison has solid world building and good characters. I liked the premise and the way she created the society. The characters are complex and there are some really entertaining interactions.
This is definitely a book I would recommend!