Title: Chosen Ones
Author: Tiffany Truitt
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Release Date: June 12th, 2012
What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?
Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.
Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.
But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?
Summary from Goodreads.com
My Review: Chosen Ones follows Tess as she tries to navigate through a very grim world. Humans are known as “naturals” and they are also the minority in a society that is trying to be rid of them. They are working towards having a society of “chosen ones” who are genetically created and given special gifts that make them unique. They are also raised to hate naturals and believe it is their purpose to keep control over them. Tess has never questioned what happens to her in life and has always just gone along with the mass belief that the chosen ones are there to save them. She is just going through the motions of life and her sister even remarks:
You’ve crawled so deep inside yourself I wonder if you even know you have a self to save. Trust me. There’s so much more to this life.
Everything changes though, when she is sent off to Templeton, the place where the chosen ones are housed, she finds a reality she was not prepared for. At first she just tries to shut down like she has done her whole life, but when she witnesses certain events and her supervisor makes a couple of hurtful comments to her, it gets her thinking about who she has become. Her supervisor remarked:
I asked you because out of all the girls, you are the only one who would see something like that and not care. I knew it the moment I met you. The way you just sat there. Sullen. Self-centered. That’s why you’ll do so well here. You don’t care about anything or anyone.
No. Self-centered? How could I be self-centered when I didn’t even know who the hell I was anymore?”
It is after this moment that Tess slowly starts to wake up and see the world around her for what it truly is. We follow her on that emotional journey.
While she progresses through this world we also get to read a couple of letters her father has left behind for her. I appreciated these letters woven throughout the book because they filled in the backstory of how the world got this way and the mindset of many of the people. They also help Tess understand her father more, since most of his life he lived with little emotion shown to those he held most dear.
I also enjoyed how Tiffany gets right to the root of the story and does not add a lot of details or fluff. The book jumps from scene to scene with no filler in the middle. This way we get a lot of action and momentum in the plot without it being dragged down by details that do not add substance to the novel.
As for the romance, it had a star-crossed lovers feel to it, much like Romeo and Juliet. Tess is drawn to James because he is different from the other chosen ones and she sees much of herself in him.
Maybe he didn’t have a soul. But maybe something else made one a human. Maybe us naturals had forgotten what it meant to be one. But this boy, with is questions and insecurities, seemed more human than possible. And it was beautiful.
They are both fascinated by the other because they do not act or think how society has trained them too. They question the world around them and feel a pull toward one another. Being sixteen and never been kissed before Tess does have a hard time with her feelings at first, but slowly she and James learn how to be in the relationship together. It was very sweet an innocent and I really enjoyed watching them together.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the characters in it. It has a sad undertone to it, but it made me stop and think about everything that was happening and appreciate my own world compared to the one Tess has to live in. I look forward to the next book in the series to see what happens to Tess now that her world has been turned upside down.
FTC: Thank you to the publisher for sending me the ARC to read and review.