Wooten, Neal. The Balance. Bold Strokes Books, 2014.
Piri lives in the city in the clouds until one day his transport crashes onto the earth. He meets a people who call themselves the Children. They live a very different life from the one Piri left behind in the sky. And there are things the Children tell him that don't make sense to him, based on what he knows from his life in the city. When Piri is rescued and discovers the horrible truth behind the fate of the Chosen Ones, he knows he must do something to restore the balance on the earth.
I liked this story and found it a decent read-alike for books likeThe Giver and Swans and Klons. The City is where the privileged people live, and their lives are very strictly controlled. They are trained from a young age not to show any emotions. There's no physical affection between family members or couples. All people die at age 80, when they are too old to work or help raise their grandchildren.
The people on earth, the Children, serve those in the city by providing them with crops and volunteers who are chosen in a weekly ceremony. The Children are barely scraping by, but their lives are rich with family and market days and emotions. Also, the Children read from a Book that tells them the rules to live by. They even have a Westboro Baptist-esque subgroup of fundamentalists. The Book is very obviously paraphrased from the Bible, so readers coming from a Christian tradition may find the Children's religion offensive.
I enjoyed the dystopian part of this book, as well as Piri's inventions to help the Children. I liked that Piri is gay and marries Niko, but that it isn't a big deal in his society at all. There could easily be more books in this world, but this book can also stand alone, which I think is a good thing for a YA book.
Recommended for: fans of dystopian lit, young adults
Red Flags: some violence, mentions of cannibalism (the Scavs eat the Chosen, which is pretty obvious early on but some people may be unpleasantly surprised when they find that out)
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for the purposes of review.