Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ARC Review: The Innocence Treatment by Ari Goelman

The Innocence Treatment
Author: Ari Goelman
Publication: Roaring Brook Press; Annotated edition edition (October 17, 2017)

Description: You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.
Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her―and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, Ari Goelman's The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.

My Thoughts: This near future dystopia is a science fiction story about a girl who has a medical treatment that changes her from being trusting, believing everything a person tells her, and loving everyone to a girl who is paranoid about what the government is up to. Or is she? Paranoid assumes that what she believes isn't true. But what if it is?

Lauren Fielding is living near Washington DC after the Emergency through civilization - at least, in the United States - into chaos. A new Department has been formed to "protect" the citizens from dangers as a result of the Emergency Act. People are afraid to say anything derogatory about the government or the Department for fear of being arrested and imprisoned without any legal representation. There are spies and informers everywhere watching everyone.

When the story begins, Lauren is looking forward to the operation that will "fix" her. She is tired of having a set of rules to live by and a school paraprofessional dogging her steps all day. She wants to be normal. After the operation, she begins to see that her friends aren't really friends and she develops a taste for violence. When an older boy, playing on her supposed innocence, attempts to have sex with her, she uses the self defense skills she has been taught to discourage him. When he spreads the story around school that she had sex with him, she is helped by Sasha Adams, a new student and informer for the Department.

She and Sasha become as good of friends as they can be considering that everything she says to him while he is wearing his glasses goes right into the Department's hands. One clear indication that the Department has over-reached is that Sasha was recruited by the Department from a Ukranian refugee camp when he was a pre-teen and trained to be a spy. Failure to follow their rules will see him deported.

This story is told by Lauren's older sister Evelyn who has gathered together Lauren's journals, the case notes of the psychologist who interviews her while she is in "voluntary" detention, and interview transcriptions. Evelyn wants to get out the true story of the Innocence treatment and of her sister who was a hero.

The book was fascinating and fast-paced. I enjoyed it.

Favorite Quote:
I'm almost tempted to believe your explanation about how "a bit of paranoia is completely natural given your completely innocent state beforehand." It is weird that pretty much everyone I know (except Evelyn) has turned out to be a liar. Even my father, for God's sake. Maybe I'm not super-perceptive -- maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Gabriella really does love the way my head looks all stubbly and studded with scars. Maybe you really do want to help me out of the goodness of your heart. And maybe the moon really is made of delicious green cheese. None of that seems too likely, though.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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