Question. Feel. Believe.
Years ago, nuclear war broke out, destroying life as we currently know it, and leaving Earth’s air poisoned. But a group of scientists (known as The Ten) were prepared for a disaster such as this. They created an underground facility and designed its people for specific tasks; only void of emotions, curiosity, or other traits that could disrupt the order of The State. But then there’s Thalli, designed to be a musician. Thalli is an anomaly. She feels things and has the capacity to question why she’s different. She hides her deformity for 17 years, but then The Ten learns of her malformation and wants to annihilate her before she causes problems. Thalli, along with her childhood friend, Berk, secretly goes against the scientists’ authority in an attempt to save her life. Meanwhile, a man named John tells Thalli she was created by The Designer for a purpose, and that if she believes, death is only the beginning. But when it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between lies and reality, will Thalli be able to know the truth before she’s annihilated?
Anomaly is told from the perspective of Thalli, which means readers are inside Thalli’s head and can only see what she sees. Thalli has been conditioned by The State to believe certain things, so it’s often difficult for her (and us!) to know what is real and what is a simulation created by The Ten. This is what makes the story so gripping. While reading, I never knew what was coming next. I couldn’t predict the ending, but that didn’t stop me from trying to decipher what was really happening beneath the surface (literally).
One of the things that stuck out to me is how Thalli reacts to new things she encounters. Thalli doesn’t have a family, she’s never been outside, and she’s introduced to love and her Creator for the first time at age 17. The way she eagerly encounters and experiences these things is a good reminder of how much we take for granted.
Another of the book’s strengths is that it not only does what dystopian fiction does best—show a world operating under a corrupt, totalitarian power, while sending in characters who try to overthrow said power—it also shows the reason behind this corruption. That reason, so beautifully depicted throughout the story, is this: a turn away from the Creator and a disregard for the sanctity of human life. With the help of John, a man who lost his family in the nuclear war, Thalli learns that people are unique creations designed for a purpose: to glorify our Designer with our lives. We’re also created with emotions and the capacity to experience and show love.
I’ve been a fan of Krista McGee ever since I read First Date, her first novel. I love her books because they’re solid: they don’t back down from delivering the Gospel to a young adult audience that desperately needs to know their lives have meaning. She handles topics in a way that purely glorifies God, while still remaining relevant to her audience. Anomaly, while in a different genre than her other three stories, is no different. After months of anticipation, I finally read the latest of McGee’s books, and I was not disappointed. It’s the first in a trilogy, which means I’ll have to practice patience as I wait for Book 2. I highly recommend adding Anomaly to your reading list!
From the Back Cover:
Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.
Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.
Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.
The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk – a scientist being groomed by The Ten – convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.
As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer – someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.
Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out.
When Krista McGee isn’t living in fictional worlds of her own creation, she lives in Tampa and spends her days as a wife, mom, teacher, and coffee snob. She is also the author of First Date, Starring Me, and Right Where I Belong.
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