Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Series: The Glimpse #1
Published: 7 June 2012 by Faber
Length: 432 pages
Warnings: violence, rape, abuse
Source: Publisher (Really sorry it’s ridiculously late)
Other info: This is Claire’s debut novel.
Summary : London, in the near future: society is divided according to a DNA test that determines a person's predisposition to mental illness. When Ana finds out there was a mistake with her Pure test, her whole world crumbles. Now, Joining with Pure-boy Jasper is her only hope of salvation. Until Jasper disappears. Ana sets off on his trail, determined to solve the mystery of his abduction. In doing so she journeys into the darkest corners of society, and uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she’s ever believed.
Review: In this world, your fate is decided by a DNA test which sees if you have or if you’re predisposed to developing mental illness. Pures are separated from Crazies, who live in the City, away from the safety of the Community. Ana’s test is wrong. She’s not pure. From there, she has to learn more about her past, her family and so on. as well as this, her betrothed Jasper goes missing. Ana ends up going across London finding Jasper, her family, and an unexpected love interest.
Mental illness isn’t talked about that much in society, so it’s nice to have it addressed in YA fiction. As the set up behind a dystopian state-hmm, maybe not. And to some, the fact that those with/dispositioned to mental illness are labelled as being “crazy” and then being feared/cast out by the rest of society might also upset you. However, if you’re not easily offended or immature about these things, you should be able to enjoy this story.
Ana’s voluntary stay in the mental hospital is pretty horrifying. Thankfully, I’ve not had any experiences with the mental health system, but a family friend has and her treatment was nothing like this. I know this was probably exaggerated for effect, but the girls’ treatment brings to mind the conditions of Victorian lunatic asylums, full of experiments that probably make you crazier than you went in.
Aside from the UK’s treatment of those who may or may not be mentally ill, which is extreme in the way that dystopias are, there’s some other elements of this future Britain that kind of make sense. Petrol shortages, economic downturns, media control and so on are all kind of visible in today’s world-they get turned up nicely in this world.
London based! Yay! I love London-visiting it, the sights, the little back bits. Books set in London always make me happy even if the rest of them are terrible-and the fact that a bit of the beginning is set in Camden was just—yes. Having been round Camden many many times, it’s nice being able to accurately imagine settings.
Ana was both nice and stupid. I understood where she was coming from but some of her decisions annoyed me. Her relationship to her father especially, but also to the rest of the cast in general, were believable and made me like her a bit more. The love triangle didn’t really overshadow the main plot, which was good. it took me a bit of time to like Nate, but everyone else was likable and understandable.
The plot was good and it got off to a quick start. Things moved at a pace that kept me really interested, but some things I didn’t really get without re-reading, especially at the start. The ending was a bit open ended, and I’d definitely like to see what happens next.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a thought provoking book with a great dystopian premise, but not something for everyone.