This is a young adult dystopian novel taking place in an alternate reality in which the discovery of “halves” in the past has drastically altered the present. Each time a child is born, a paired “half” is born on the same day in some location around the globe. Halves are matched with their counterparts on their eighteenth birthdays and are (usually) smitten and, from that day forward, unable to live without each other. When one half is in pain, the other feels it. When one half dies, the other usually does, too.
The protagonist, Aaron, has an abnormal condition: his clairvoyance, the element linking people to their halves, was injured at birth, and doctors fear there will be a problem when he meets his half. In the meantime, Aaron is stubborn and hot-headed. He doesn’t buy the concept of halves, noting that there was a time in human history when people chose their own mates. Just before his eighteenth birthday, he meets Amber, an attractive girl with whom he falls in love. And Amber’s birthday is the same as Aaron’s, so it looks like they might even be halves. But there’s a problem: Clive. Clive is violent, and his father is a sinister doctor doing research that seems to be less than legal. Clive’s birthday, of course, is the same as Aaron’s and Ambers, and Clive insists he is Amber’s half. In fact, Amber and Clive have been identified as halves since they were babies, a practice that is generally frowned upon.
When Amber doesn’t seem to want to submit to Clive, Aaron hopes maybe she will be assigned as his half. But he finds out that Clive (and his father) have an operation planned that will make Amber docile, the perfect wife but no more than an empty, non-resistant shell.
The book builds up to Aaron finding out who his half is. Of course I’m not going to ruin it. This is a great read for a high-school student, especially a male reader. There’s plenty of action and teenage aggression and lust. It’s a page turner from the start. The one thing that bothered me was the absence of Aaron’s parents. At times, things were happening, like kids entering the house at midnight, and the parents didn’t wake up. Also, Aaron got beat up a few times, but his parents didn’t seem too aware of that fact. Other than that, I enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to hesitant readers in my high school English class. It’s a compelling read that, I believe, would keep them turning the pages. I’ll admit, I lost some sleep over this book, as the pages compel you to turn… despite the fact that it’s past bedtime!