From Goodreads: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears. Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
My Rating: 4 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: In Claire Merle’s The Glimpse, the year is 2041 and the genes responsible for 304 mental illnesses (including the big three of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety) have been isolated. While violence rages on in the US, the English have divided themselves into two camps with the use of a genetic test: Pures (i.e. those who won’t develop a mental illness) who live behind guarded communities and Crazies (those who carry, have or will develop a mental illness) who live in the City.
Although I thought the premise of The Glimpse was intriguing, I simultaneously thought it was unrealistic because it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be discovered that single genes are responsible for causing mental illnesses. Luckily, Merle addressed this issue and made the truth behind her simple genetic test much more complicated. As well, I liked how Merle wove in little details and clues throughout the novel to use later on. However, it did take some time for me to get into The Glimpse because it was full of unfamiliar terminology in the first few chapters and occasionally shifted randomly to another character’s perspective.
As the protagonist, Ana annoyed me at first with the way she thought about the Crazies. But at the same time, I understood her fear of them because if she acted even remotely like them, she too would be tossed out of her Community. As The Glimpse progressed and Ana became more independent in her thinking though, I began to like her more (even if I still didn’t quite fully relate to her because for someone who was supposedly smart, she remained prone to making some foolish choices).
I found Ana’s father to be a way more fascinating character, and am still trying to figure out how I feel about him. It’s obvious that he cares about Ana, but he has a very complex way of showing it!
The other secondary characters weren’t as interesting, but they were okay. In particular, Cole and Jasper present the option of a brief love triangle that’s resolved neatly because the two guys end up coming to mean different things to Ana. It was nice that Ana figured out how she felt about Cole and Jasper quickly, and didn’t waver indecisively between the two for long. The romance, however, was slightly insta-love.
A book that brings up some interesting ethical questions and makes you realize the benefits of being in power, The Glimpse was released by Faber and Faber in June 2012.
Comments About the Cover: I like its simplicity. The blue heart wrapped in barbed wire really stands out against the white background.
In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Faber and Faber) for free via NetGalley.