Summary : Creative. Contrived. Confusing.
The premise was imaginative, fresh, and quite possibly the best part of the novel. Characters are likable but disappointingly meager. World building and story progression are strained and convoluted. This is listed as a YA romance however there is no significant promise of such a relationship
Face is staged in a dystopian community where technological advances have created a world of lookalikes deemed beautiful and the only acceptable form of existence. Society dictates facial updates be uploaded from an early age in order to achieve this. The problem lies that there are those who’s persons are unable to tolerate such an update rendering them outcasts, Naturals.
True is a sixteen-year-old girl who feels rebellious in the wake of her superficial friends and dysfunctional family life consisting of an absentee father and pregnant mother. She makes a subtle nonconformist move when she tweaks her face by adding a smile blocker aka maverick feature leaving her an oddity amongst her peers and teachers in her virtual school of avatars. The very same day she meets Cliff, who becomes a novelty himself as he dons the avatar of a famous movie star and is rumored to be a Natural. The two strike up an awkward friendship (intended to be romantic) that threatens societal norms as True discovers family matters may be more complicated than she thought.
This work turns out to be confusing and displeasing.
The first half of this novel is spent trying to decipher context and meaning behind dialogue and concepts mentioned. This schema is refreshingly new, there should have been more time spent on developing a framework for these characters and their lifestyle. It was difficult to follow the character’s logic and to understand the implication of True’s choice to wear a Maverick feature beyond knowing it was significant. The idea that modern tendencies evolved in such a way that everyone was beautiful, leaving no one beautiful, was crafted in an innovative way, but was poorly executed as was the allusion of enacting a full circle where non-conforming features became the new norm. Furthermore, It did not make sense to create such dissonance between Naturals and Society Norms only to have the novel end the way that it did. At that point, any hope of the story redeeming itself was thwarted.
I wanted to love this, but was unable to move past the disconnect between this fascinating dystopian world and the outcome of its characters.
** This book was received from the Author in exchange for an honest review. **