It seems paranormal romances amongst vampires and fallen angels have been replaced by futuristic dystopian rebellions within the young adult fiction community. These morbid tales of grim futures for humanity have grown in popularity and word of the more well-known series spreads like wildfire not only amongst the young generations, but also amongst the older. One will note upon hearing these recommendations, there is a similarity between the series: each one has a strong female lead. Sure, a dystopian series such as James Dashner’s Maze Runner series is popular, but it seems a series like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games has a larger fan base. With The Hunger Games series nearing its end with its final movie installment coming out November of this year and the second movie installment of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series Insurgent releasing in theaters this Friday, young readers are going to be looking for a new dystopian book series to dive into. Enter new young adult author Ilima Todd and her debut novel Remake.
Remake takes place in a future where population is controlled by provinces called Freedom and humans are born in batches of ten females and ten males to prevent the world from being overpopulated. These batches are created and kept equal until they turn seventeen where they are then remade and given the freedom to choose exactly who they dream to be: they can choose their gender, hair color, skin color, height, etc. With a batch ready to be remade, one girl named Nine has more questions than answers and is unsure as to what she wants to be remade into. When she discovers that Freedom One’s leader, the Prime Maker, is hiding a secret from everyone, she must make a decision: will she choose to harbor the Freedom she has known all her life or to embrace the freedom she discovers and falls in love with?
Aside from the stereotypical “I’m not normal; I want to be normal; something has been wrong here for years and it is finally discovered, but by a teenager” arc, Todd has created a story that is truly unique and focuses on important matters of everyday life. Of course there is a romance in the book (it would not be a young adult fiction if there was not one), but there is so much more to the story than that. It focuses on the importance of family and that, no matter what happens, family is always there and will always love one another. It focuses on acceptance of oneself and being happy with how one has been created (like Deborah Lytton’s Silence, Remake is another young adult novel that mentions religion). Yet one of the biggest focuses of the story is the focus on how gender really affects one’s future and what he or she will have to face.
Todd’s character Nine is a beautiful example of what teenagers go through (except for the whole living in a morbid future in a science fiction like world). She is at a point in her life where she has reached a crossroads: she can take one way or the other, but she is unsure of where to go. Every single teenager on Earth reaches this point in their lives where they must decide: do I want to work right out of high school or do I want to go to college? Do I want to go to A University or B University? Do I want to become an engineer or a musician? Etc. It is a very difficult time in a young person’s life and Nine begins the story in this stage and gradually matures and is able to take a breath and decide which path is best for her. Her character development throughout the story is a breath of fresh air. Rather than one day she is indecisive to an hour later she is ready to take on the world, she has a slow, realistic change from an indecisive teenager into a level-headed young adult. This can only be described as a realistic and beautiful growth.
Remake has so much going on within that it is difficult to give a detailed synopsis about it without giving anything away. And, with how the book ends, readers know more books will be coming soon. Of course young adult dystopian novels have rebellions and one of the refreshing details about this story is that Nine joins an already formed rebellion called The Rise, she does not start it. Actually starting something like Katniss in The Hunger Games is too much pressure to put upon a young teenager. Rather becoming a part of something greater than one is gives a character a sense of purpose and a sense of wanting to help that is different than being in charge of a whole rebellion army. With young teens racing to the theaters to watch Insurgent this weekend, one may recommend stopping by one’s nearest bookstore afterwards. Todd’s Remake is perfect for fans of dystopian novels and offers a new story for teens thirsting for more.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on March 18, 2015.