From Caragh M. O'Brien, author of the Birthmarked trilogy, comes the first book in a new series, The Vault of Dreamers, a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hidingand what it truly means to dream there.
Read the whole series:
The Vault of Dreamers
The Rule of Mirrors
The Keep of Ages
Praise for The Vault of Dreamers:
“A sharp novel about the ways in which everyone can be manipulated, either through editing or one's own desire to go the easiest path.” -The Bulletin
“Like O'Briens Birthmarked trilogy, this dystopian, sci-fi, psychological-thriller hybrid raises ethical and moral questions about science. This might have been a difficult story to pull off, given the environment, but with a likable narrator who is thoroughly unimpressed with herself, it works . . . this should have wide appeal.” -Booklist
“Fans looking for a science fiction novel that is not heavy on the science fiction or who want something vaguely dystopian will enjoy this title.” -VOYA
“A mixture of science fiction and contemporary fiction, this novel is an interesting addition to both genres.” -School Library Journal
“A fast, satisfying psychological thriller.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Like viewers of The Forge Show, readers will want to keep watching Rosie.” -Publishers Weekly
More from Caragh M. O'Brien:
The Birthmarked Trilogy:
About the Author
Caragh M. O'Brien earned an MA in the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Her novels Birthmarked and Prized were named YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults. Birthmarked was also a Junior Library Guild Selection and chosen for the ALA 2011 Amelia Bloomer List. She lives with her family and writes from her home in Connecticut.
Read an Excerpt
I MISSED NIGHT. I had other reasons to disobey, too, like wanting to escape the cameras, but most of all, I missed the deep, vacant darkness of night.
We lined up as usual, shivering in our bare feet and nightgowns. Rain streamed down the windows, obscuring the gray view of the prairie, and the patter sounded gently on the vaulted roof overhead. Orly passed out the pills, starting at the far end, and I watched as each girl obediently swallowed, climbed into her sleep shell, and slid her lid closed with a soft swoosh.
When Orly reached me, I took my pill like the others but faked tossing it back. Instead, I lodged the disk up alongside my gums before I took a sip of water and opened my mouth for her inspection.
She turned and went on to the next girl.
I’d won. I climbed in my sleep shell, spit the pill into my hand, and wedged it under my pillow.
“Close your lid,” Orly told me.
“Do I have to?” I asked. “I like the sound of the rain.”
“You can open it again after your brink lesson if you want,” she said. “Sleep well.”
When Orly switched off the lights, the room went the soft, gray color of childhood naps. I pulled my lid closed to watch the brink lesson cast across the glass: a scene of a woman laying bricks, tucking them evenly in a row. What I was supposed to learn from it, even subconsciously, I couldn’t tell. Afterward, I slid open my lid again and rolled over on my pillow. Across from me, the next girl fell asleep easily and completely, and from the uninterrupted sound of the rain, I knew forty-eight other girls fell asleep on schedule, too.
Myself, I was secretly, deliciously awake. As the hour brought the darkness closer, I lay fidgety with hope and relished how it felt to be alone, stealing back the real me. The windows darkened like a gift until I could see the faint, blue reflections of our domed lids in the glass. A nearly invisible glow fell over the dormant faces, making the girls’ skin gleam with faint phosphorescence, as if they had been chalked and scanned under a black light. I slowly waved my fingers before my face, testing. The glow gave my fingers a staggered trail of black shadows, like cartoon lines of motion, tracks in the air.
Deep night came at last, bringing me more awake than ever. After nine nights of drugged sleep, my nerves seemed to have lost the trick of falling asleep naturally on their own, and now they worked in reverse, lighting me up within. To watch the night out my window was not enough. I wanted more.
It was a risk, breaking the rules, but following them hadn’t done me much good, either. I had to face facts. With the fifty cuts happening the next day, this could well be my last night at Forge. I didn’t want to waste it sleeping. From outside, the bells of the clock tower tolled midnight, until the twelfth bong resonated away to nothing.
Slowly, I sat up to look around the room.
No alarm went off. No warning lights. Orly did not come running. Our fifty sleep shells, with their paneling below and full-length glass lids on top, were lined up in two rows as straight and motionless as so many coffins. Cameras had to be picking up my movements, but either no one cared that I was breaking the rules, or the night techies didn’t watch carefully. A third possibility didn’t then occur to me: someone cared very much, was watching very closely, and still let me continue.
Clutching my nightie close, I tiptoed the length of the room, past the other girls, and peeked through the doorway to where the hall was dark, empty, and cool. Barefoot, I crept across the smooth floor to the stairwell and touched a hand to the banister. Downward, a wide, dark staircase led to the floors for the older students, but upward, an old, narrow staircase led around a corner I’d never noticed. I took the old steps up to an attic, where the roof was close and alive with the rain’s pattering.
I breathed deep. The aged, still air was faintly sweet, as if the missionaries who had raised the roof long before had also left behind a trace of incense in the wooden beams. I had just barely enough light to see, which also made me trust that the attic was too dark for the cameras to find me. I was effectively offstage for the first time since I’d arrived on the show, and the privacy was so palpable, it made me smile.
Two large, old skylights glowed in the slanted roof, setting edges to my blindness, and I wound my way gingerly past a number of storage bins. Rivulets of rain were slanting down the glass. With a hand on a rafter, I leaned close to the first skylight and peered out. To the left, the dean’s tower was dark except for lights on the top floor, where I’d heard the dean lived in his penthouse. The techies who worked in the building must be gone for the night. It made sense, I realized. They couldn’t have much to do in the twelve hours of night while The Forge Show was on the repeat cycle, rebroadcasting the feeds of the previous day.
With a shove, I pushed the heavy skylight upward on its hinge and propped its bar in the opening. The rain dropped in a perfect curtain just beyond my touch, releasing a rush of noise and tropical mist. The drenched roof tiles smelled unexpectedly like the metal of the boxcars back home, or maybe I was smelling the wet grid of a catwalk I spied running below the skylight.
I ached to go out and feel the soft blindness of the night touching my skin with the rain. It would make me strong. When I rolled up my sleeve and reached a hand out, clean, colorless droplets fell upon my skin. They were warm and irresistibly inviting.
Using a bin for a step, I hitched my nightie around me and crawled gingerly through the skylight to the catwalk. I gasped. The rain drenched me instantly, and I hunched against the downpour. It was so wonderful, so surprisingly not cold, that I had to laugh aloud. After nine days of guarding myself, trying fruitlessly to please the teachers and cameras, I was free.
I grasped the railing of the catwalk with one hand and pushed my wet curls out of my eyes. This was good. Light from the dean’s tower cast outlines on the sloped roof of the film building next door and beyond that, I could see the sharp roof of the clock tower. A row of lamps illuminated the edge of the campus and separated us from the darkness of the plains beyond. Except for the faintest flickers, the lights of Forgetown were lost in the rain to the east, and my home, to the southwest, was impossibly distant.
I looked, anyway, employing my filmmaker trick. I imagined my gaze forward, high speed between the drops, to the boxcar where my kid sister was sleeping in the top bunk. I zoomed in large to picture her rosy cheeks and her eyelashes. Then I scanned past the curtain to the living room and put my stepfather in a stupor on the orange plaid couch. My mother I bent over a calculator, with some paperwork from the cafeteria, while the lamplight limned her profile. Home. In the next instant, I released them all to dissolve in the rain, and I was back at Forge.
My homesickness wasn’t truly for home, I realized. It was for something more elusive. A silent, low-grade, unnamed yearning persisted inside me. It was always there, a reaching feeling that grew stronger when I was alone and listened for it. The rain understood what it was.
I spread my arms wide and tilted my head back to let the night splash into my mouth. Too little of it fell in to actually quench my thirst, but the few drops that passed my lips tasted sweeter than anything from a glass. This moment was real, at least. This was worth remembering. If they cut me the next day and I left Forge as a failure, ashamed, I could always recall my invisibility on the roof in the rain this night, and I would know this moment was my own.
“You like that?” I said, facing the sky. “Is that good enough?”
It was for me.
And the next second, it wasn’t. The truth was, I would do anything to stay on the show.
A gust of wind blew me into the railing of the catwalk. This was a mistake. My stupidity astounded me. Why did I think, at any level, that doing something at night when the viewers weren’t even watching could possibly help my blip rank?
I turned back to the skylight. Getting in was harder than getting out. I had to grab my drenched nightie up around my waist, and then I crawled backward into the skylight, reaching with my toes for the bin below. As I carefully reclosed the skylight, the chilly air clung to my nightie and set my skin prickling. I wrung out the fabric as best as I could and flicked drops off my legs with my fingertips. Then, quietly, I descended the stairs again.
Wet and chilled, I raced silently along the length of the dorm. I hung my drenched nightie on a hook in my wardrobe and swiftly pulled on a dry one. Soon I was back in my sleep shell, burrowing into my quilt, and I waited, in dread, for someone to come for me.
It took a long time. The rain made it hard to listen for footsteps, but finally, a quiet voice came from farther down the room. I tried to calm my heart and breathe normally. Another voice answered, just distant and soft enough that I couldn’t grasp the words. I waited as long as I could, listening, and then I turned toward the voices and slit my eyes open to see.
Down the row, a man and a woman stood by one of the sleep shells. The lid was open, and their figures were dark in contrast to a soft light that shone on the student. I hadn’t made friends with any of the girls, and this one, Janice, I knew only slightly. She was twitching in spasmodic, unnatural tremors, though from her silence, I guessed she was still unconscious. The man, an older, bearded guy with a potbelly, held a tablet and a pole with an IV bag. The translucent line glowed as it led down to the girl’s arm.
“Too much, do you think?” he said.
“No, she’ll be all right,” said the woman. “She’ll settle. Just wait.”
She leaned over Janice’s face, propping up her eyelids to shine a pen light in one eye, and then the next. A cushiony bar had been wedged between Janice’s teeth. The man touched his finger to the tablet, indicating something.
“Just wait,” the woman said again.
When she set the back of her fingers tenderly against Janice’s cheek, and then her forehead, the sleeve of the woman’s red cardigan took on a garish, flickering hue. Together, she and the man peered at the tablet again. The woman’s smooth dark hair slid forward, covering her earphone as she waited, and her expression stayed watchful.
After a few more moments, she said, “See?”
“Yes,” said the man.
Janice’s trembling diminished, then stopped. She never once opened her eyes. The man straightened, relaxing. The woman reached to skim a finger over the tablet, tapped it, and nodded quietly.
“That was close. I’ll admit it,” she said.
“I’ll say. These new ones. You never know.” The man reached for the absorbent bar in Janice’s teeth and gently worked it free.
The woman in the red sweater took out Janice’s IV, handed it to the man, and pressed a cotton ball to Janice’s arm. With her free hand, she touched her earphone. “There’s no need. She’s fine for now,” she said. And then, “Right. Of course.” She made a sign to the man, and then a circle with her finger that encompassed the room.
The man turned, and I closed my eyes.
“Yes. Of course. We will,” said the woman.
I held very still, feeling my heart pounding, as the sound of footsteps spread out around the room. Soon I inhaled a faint trace of perfume. I could feel the presence of the woman hovering at the end, near my feet, and I breathed as evenly as I could.
“This one?” It was the man’s voice, very soft. “What’s her blip rank?”
There was a faint rubbing noise of fabric.
I waited for more, a touch or a sound. A reply. I listened inside myself, too, distrusting my own body. Would a seizure hit me soon? My ears stayed primed, but I heard no reply, only the continued pattering of the rain high above. It took forever before there was another faint sound, a clicking from far down the room near the door. I exhaled in relief. I didn’t dare open my eyes again, didn’t turn my head or shift even when I felt the gentle tickle of a hair against my cheek.
I’d forgotten my wet hair. They must have seen it. They knew what I’d done.
But they’d said nothing.
* * *
When the morning alarm awoke us at six, I sat up slowly. My hair was dry in thick, post-rain clumps, and my mouth felt fuzzy. Orly checked in for a minute to be sure we were all up, but she paid no special attention to me. As I headed toward the bathroom with my shower kit and fresh clothes, I looked over at Janice, who was talking to one of the other girls. She seemed fine. She pulled her blond hair high over her head in a ponytail, and when her sleeve shifted, I saw a scab mark on her forearm.
Do you tell someone she’s had a seizure in the night? You don’t, not if it would mean admitting your own crime of being awake. I passed her by without speaking, but I wondered how Janice could not instinctively know about her episode. She should at least notice the pinprick where the IV had gone into her skin. I pushed up my sleeve and glanced down at my own arm, and that’s when I saw it: a faint, healing track mark in the crook of my left elbow.
They’d done it to me, too.
Text copyright © 2014 by Caragh M. O’Brien
Table of Contents
2 The Dishwasher,
4 The Blip Rank Board,
5 The Infirmary,
6 The Losers,
7 The Fifty Cuts,
8 The Last Boxcar,
9 The Furniture Movers,
11 The Clock Tower,
12 Fish Tank,
13 Gorge on Forge,
15 The Noose,
16 New Favorite,
17 The Game,
18 The Lady Knight,
19 The Lookout Tower,
20 The Cat Guillotine,
24 The Aftermath,
25 The Yellow Pills,
26 The Clock Tower Again,
28 A Deterrent,
29 The Observatory,
30 Real Use,
32 The Contract,
33 The B Button,
34 The Vault of Dreamers,
36 The Leap,
Also by Caragh O'Brien,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An excellent read! I finished it fast, couldn't put it down! I definetly recommend it!
Very interesting but I'm not sure yet if I'll continue with the series...I probably should or I'll miss out on something crazy happening next
SWEPT AWAY WITH HER SISTER BY WHITE SPHERES? No. I'm reading the sequel Only cuz cliffhanger
As someone who loves the Maze runner I have to day this book is a great choice if you love dystopian themed books.
This book is so intense and wonderful, that it needs to be read by lots of people. Caragh M Obrien is a genius of modern literarture. I could barely sleep after i read the last chapter. It is an amazing book and i thouroughly recommend buying it.
This book was so good and I can't want for the next installment!
I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to think of The Vault of Dreamers by author Caragh M. O’Brien. I’ve never read any of the author’s previous works but quickly looked up her Birthmarked novels on Goodreads and saw relatively positive reviews, so I was ready for anything. I can honestly say that the Vault of Dreamers isn’t at all what I expected it to be but it was definitely an experience. In The Vault of Dreamers our protagonist Rosie Sinclair is attending the Forge School, an elite school that televises every moment of their students’ lives for the world to see. There is hardly any privacy and students with the highest ratings and the best viewership are successful and receive grand sums of money for their attendance at the school. Each night students are given a sleeping pill and while they sleep viewers can catch up on everything they’ve missed. However when Rosie decides to skip her sleeping pill she soon begins to discover that something else is going on at the Forge School. Something that might have sinister consequences and that at the Forge School not only is nothing at all what it seems, but that there is something wicked at hand. I was surprised by the direction that The Vault of Dreamers went in. I found the plot entirely unpredictable to an extent. In terms of climaxes, plot twists, and the like I really enjoyed what The Vault of Dreamers had to offer. Not often do I enjoy going into a novel without an idea of what is going to happen but The Vault of Dreamers does an excellent job of weaving a mystery that will leave readers curious as to what will happen next. The characters in The Vault of Dreamers are all unique. While my favorite character was not our main character Rosie, I enjoyed the entire cast. Ranging from the cameramen to the antagonist who I did not see coming, The Vault of Dreamers is very good at creating a diverse cast who impact one another and are all individual. This is one of those novels where everyone will be able to find a character who they can relate to in some way, shape, or form. The writing in The Vault of Dreamers was decent. There were a lot of scenes where the descriptions painted vivid pictures in my mind but others felt like they were skimming over some of the more important details that could give a clear image of the novel’s world. I still have a lot of questions even after having finished the novel and I do think that this could be attributed to the lack of major details. There are plot holes that I could do without and I really do hope that at some point in time they will all be answered. As for pacing, I think there could have been a better divide between crazy dramatic points and points that were the total opposite. There is romance in The Vault of Dreamers but it doesn’t overtake the plot that is all about conspiracy and action and the big bad truth about the Forge School. I really enjoyed the premise for The Vault of Dreamers and it reminded me a lot of novels like Flash Point by Nancy Kress and How to Lead a Life of Crime. To any readers who found those types of novels interesting (i.e. stories dealing with characters in either Game Shows/Reality TV shows or teens fighting to become the next best thing at their schools) then you would definitely enjoy The Vault of Dreamers. It has the best of those two worlds. Any readers who want a novel with romantic sub-plots, action, and teenage angst and drama all thrown into one story should definitely check out The Vault of Dreamers.
I havent read this book in a while and dont remember that much of it but i really liked it, loved it!, when i was reading it but the end left me a feeling that i remember was . . . Lets just say it was a little dark although i forgot how it ended. I remember the feeling because a comment i read reminded me of it. This is a good book for those of you who liked books like Divergent, The Hunger Games, and The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Please excuse my poor grammar/ spelling if any. I am not used to "typing" on my nook.
Very interesting story.
4.5 Stars 'The Vault of Dreamers' is the thrilling first book in a new young adult science fiction/dystopia series. It follows main character Rosie Sinclair as she tries to go about life as normal at the Forge School. Only the school isn't just for education - it's also the hit reality program, Forge Show. Every waking moment of the student's lives are on camera and streamed live to millions of watchers at any given time. After the fifty cuts - where they eliminate fifty of the incoming sophomore students in one night - Rosie thinks that she'll feel more comfortable at Forge and be able to focus on what she really came for - a fantastic education. The students at Forge sleep for twelve hours a day - in order to enhance creativity. They achieve this amount of sleep by taking a special sleeping pill each day - one that knocks them unconscious until the following morning, where the cycle starts all over again. Rosie hates the sleeping pills and decides to stop taking them within the first ten days of being at Forge. The things that she sees at night are disturbing and Rosie begins to suspect that there's more going on at Forge than they let on. Her intuition is confirmed when the edges of her consciousness begin to feel weird and not like herself. It's only then that Rosie will discover the true meaning behind the school's motto about dreaming. After reading the description of this book, I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to read it. It sounded authentic and unique - like nothing I've read before. The author blended several different genres together - science fiction, thriller, dystopia, adventure, fantasy, mystery, and even romance - to create a novel that is truly one of a kind. I do admit that it took a few chapters for me to really get into the story. I was a bit bored at first - the story seemed like a normal dystopian novel about a futuristic school and so on. But once the plot picked up speed - it didn't slow down until the very end. Rosie is a fantastic main character for the book. She's smart, artistically gifted, kind, as well as focused and determined to get the best education she can so she can better her future. She has other qualities that come in handy throughout the story - she's wary of the school and the show, questions just about everything, and has to find out the answers to everything she's concerned about. That's definitely a perk because it's because of these distinct qualities that allow her to not follow the crowd and to see what's really going on at Forge. I loved watching her character grow and mature in a variety of ways and I hope we get to see more of that in the next book too. The plot, although a bit boring for me at the beginning, was thoroughly unique and a true breath of fresh air for the entire young adult audience. There was a ton of stuff going on during the book - twists and turns, creepy things in the night, strange feelings of losing your mind, and knowing there's a really dark secret at the bottom of it all (to name a few things). The writing was exceptional and the book had a really fast pace once it got going. I seriously couldn't read this fast enough. I devoured each page to find out what in the world was going to happen next. I couldn't stop until I finished the whole book and finally figured out all the secrets and answers; which only ended up taking me 3 to 4 hours at most. Once I was drawn into the world the author created, I felt like I was right beside Rosie during the entire story - experiencing everything along with her. The author's ability to write a complex and unique storyline with a quick pace and amazing attention to detail really highlights her exceptional talent as a writer. I was already dying to read the next book as soon as I finished this one - the wait is going to be terrible. I couldn't recommend this book more to fans of all genres, as there's a bit of something for everyone and the story alone is something that every reader should experience. Read this book - NOW! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
THERE HAD BETTER BE A SECOND BOOK! My gosh. Its a fine book. Read it, see for your self.
I didn't know what to expect when I read this book, but then as I got into it I sort of have split feelings on it. The story itself was different and despite the lack of in-depth explanations, I somehow knew we were in a futuristic setting. There's only one place in the entire book where this is confirmed when it gives a date (2060 or so), nor how society got to where it is, but I don't think an explanation is really necessary. Some of the strengths I found: despite the danger, Rosie wanted to keep pressing forward to figure out what was going on with the school. For a fifteen year old, that takes guts. Then again, that's what we expect of our heroines. I liked the idea of dream mining and dream seeding, and the potential for healing that it offered. Some of the explanations of how the seeding could help heal broken minds was wonderful. And the ending...yeah, it's clearly leading to a second book, but...gaaaah. Gave me the major heebie-jeebies because it would be one of my worst nightmares. And that's all I'm going to say on the matter. I enjoyed the major potential love interest Linus for the most part, though I preferred her school mate (who's name escapes me) as a potential match for her. Weaknesses: There's not a lot of character development. Secondary characters came off a bit flat and uninteresting. The main villain, in the gloating scene, I practically expected him to twirl a mustache and cackle maniacally. And the ending...yes, I said this was a strength, but it's also a weakness. I like some sense of resolution generally (if not for the series plot, at least for the story plot) and this book definitely didn't have that. I feel like we are cut off at the half-way point, and that's not how a book should end (in my opinion). So - I'd read it, but be aware it may leave you hanging in a not-good way. 3 gargoyles for me! Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I liked the premise and it held my interest but the ending fell flat. I felt the I had wasted my time and been tricked because the ending was a cheap way out. It is too bad as the bok was creative and well written but the ending or lack thereof negated my positive feelings for the book.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Publication Date: September 16, 2014 Rating: 3 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there. What I Liked: Not impressed. I was not impressed with this book. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. I think I was expecting more epicness, especially with the setting of the book (a boarding school/academy), the nature of the story (TV reality show), and the science fiction aspects (studying students for dream extraction). Overall, I was massively disappointed and sorely unimpressed. Rosie Sinclair goes to the Forge School, an arts school in which the entire school is televised as a TV reality show. Rosie wants to be a filmmaker, not an actress, so she's not entirely interested in the drama and fame of being on TV. But she needs to be in the top fifty to stay in the school. She makes the cut, but she realizes that she needs to have a flair for drama in order to make the fifty, and stay in the fifty. However, Rosie has not been taking her sleeping pill, and she realizes that things are not right in this school. I think my favorite part of this book was the romance, as the story was going. Not at the end, because ehhh. But during the story, the romance was really sweet. I really like Rosie and Linus together - Linus is sweet and blase and thoughtful and down-to-earth. Rosie is humble and observant - she isn't as competitive or cutthroat as some. The two of them are great together, and they work together to help Rosie get into the top fifty. Rosie trusts Linus with her revelations about the school - and this is when the romance hits the crossroads. Rosie doesn't take her sleeping pill, and she notices things. The students must sleep in "sleep shells", and Rosie sees that some students are wheeled out of the room at night, and taken to who knows where to have who knows what done to them. I was really intrigued by this mystery, even if I had a general idea of what was going on. It turns out I was dead on. Also, the whole big "reveal" of the mystery was seriously anticlimactic. Or really watered down. Or not epic and oh-my-gosh-we're-at-a-school-run-by-insane-people. More on that later. In fact, read on, for my dislikes. What I Did Not Like: As I before, the climax/"big reveal" was really anticlimactic. I already guessed by then what was going on, and then the climax wasn't even that great. The rising action wasn't all that great either. While I was intrigued and wanted to know what was going on, I feel like the science fiction aspect of the book was drowned out by the TV reality show part. And goodness knows I hated that aspect. I totally understand that the television show aspect was really important to the originality of this book - I get it, really. But I was not impressed by this aspect, not in the least. I was more bored by it, than anything else. And it eclipsed the science fiction aspect of the book, which was annoying. The science fiction aspect had to do with what was happening to the students (which I won't describe specifically), but I feel like the science fiction aspect wasn't well explained or foreshadowed or hyped up or SOMETHING. Maybe I'm not describing this well enough, but it felt like the science fiction aspect was seriously lacking. For that matter, I'm seriously confused as to what exactly is being done to the students, and what this data/information/STUFF is being used to do. Yup, the "big reveal" was especially disappointing, since I didn't understand the entire point of the book (the science fiction aspect). Another thing that was lacking was the feelings of déjà vu , the hallucinations, the voices, everything that made Rosie think she was going crazy and dreaming everything, instead of actually seeing them. Basically, I WAS CONFUSED. And I pride myself in not being confused easily. So many questions go unanswered in this book. Burnham? Do students lose their memories? Why the déjà vu? The voices are what/who? Etc. Also, it's interesting how this book is set in the wayyyy future. I wanted to see more of how knowing this connected with what they were doing with the students. Like, medically speaking, since they are in the future, should what they're doing be more medically advanced, etc.? Maybe it is, and it was just really poorly described. That could be why I was confused. I found the family aspect lacking, in this book. We know that Rosie has an abusive stepfather, an enabling mother, and a sweet sister. But I feel like these three characters are just archetypes, and not supporting characters. They're like cardboard figures instead of real people. I wasn't really feeling that aspect of the book, even though O'Brien made it abundantly clear that they were/would be important. And the ending. What. What. What. I don't think I liked the ending AT ALL. Is this a standalone novel? On Goodreads, the author said she's working on a sequel. Yay? I think that fact alone might save this book a little. I might actually read the sequel. Would I Recommend It: Ehhhh, no. If you already have a copy of this book, then definitely read it! By all means! But if you don't already have a copy of this book, then don't bother. Not really worth the time. Rating: 2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. Believe it or not, I was really enjoying this book as I was reading. Key words: AS I WAS READING. But the ending sucked and overall, I was left with a bitter aftertaste. I'll probably read the sequel. Unless this is a trilogy (or more). If it's a duology, I can handle that.