The best part of this book is the main character Violet Schoenfeld. Violet is a borderline "Goodie" someone who follows the rules. Mostly. She has a trail of misdemeanors that began after the death of her sister Ty and her mothers complete lack of feeling for her.
Now shes done it. At the request of her match, Zenn she meets him after dark , alone. Zenn has something for her and early birthday present. Vi never gets to open it as she is stopped by a patrolman. He tag is scanned and she is arrested, and taken to the Green aka the Thinkers for a trial.
Some strange things happen once she's imprisoned. First she is sentenced to the the badlands where the "baddies " live of course, those free of the Thinkers control. Then she is placed in a cell with Baddie Jag for a week. There is something about Jag that immediately resonates with her. Despite her match Zenn, despite the strange voice in her head that warns her away from him.
While she is imprisoned we learn more about Vi and Jag. Vi has a strange sensitivity to machinery, she has the ability to fall into others minds, and through Jag she also learns that her father long thought dead is actually alive. So she leads the two into an escape into the badlands that brings her to a reunion with friends loved ones and startling secrets about herself.
So many great concepts but the story was still was a struggle for me. Though Vi is only 15 and Jag a little older the two vacillate back and forth between extreme maturity and emotional extremes. I'm always aware of this potential in YA novels and know as an adult that my reactions won't be the same as a teens but their personality quirks were just a little to much for me.
Like the fact that after a week of bonding and relying on each other for survival Jag storms off and leaves Vi alone after she makes a comment to him he doesn't like. On the border of the Badlands! A place she's never been and is still in danger of getting caught! Then after making it through the border on her own Jag shows up and apologises. Vi slaps him and then everything is OK and their in love . UG!
The middle and end parts of this book were interesting and again I was intrigued by a lot of Johnson's story elements but I found myself ploughing through it rather than enjoying it. I did like how the majority of the story elements were wrapped up but I cant honestly say I'm on board for book 2.