After a big earthquake in the US in the not-too-distant future the society is literally divided into two main groups: the extremely wealthy citizens who live in very luxurious prime gated communities like Sol City and the poor ones who have to live outside the gates.

The wealthy persons are not merely rich, they are so loaded that they can afford genetic modifications. These Genetically Altered Persons (short GAPs) can expand their lifelines to two hundred years, never get sick and are of course extremely good-looking.

The poorer “Naturals” do not have these opportunities and are only allowed to enter the luxurious world of the gated communities with the permission of a GAP, for example when they have to work for them.

The teenagers Zoe and Noah live on completely different sides of the society. Zoe is a GAP who seems to live a perfect life. Noah belongs to the have-nots outside the gates and he fights against social injustice. Zoe and Noah meet when Noah helps his mother clean Zoe’s family’s house. Because of their huge social differences with all the correspondent prejudices they have no interest to get to know each other better.

This changes when Liam, Zoe’s brother, dies under mysterious circumstances. Zoe’s parents react in a very odd way, almost indifferent and also Liam’s friends seem to know more than they are ready to tell. Zoe does not want to let this matter rest and tries to reveal the secret of Liam’s death. The key to this dark secret seems to lie outside the borders of Sol City. In this unfamiliar territory Zoe needs the help of a Natural and this is where Noah comes into play. He is the very last person Zoe wants to trust, but she has no choice. From now on she does not only have to question her prejudices but also her family and the world she lives in.

Perception is the first book in a dystopian series. It is a well-plotted and suspenseful read with interesting issues like social differences or science vs. ethics. Honestly said, I underestimated the romance part in this dystopy before starting this book. Many (female) readers will probably love the almost Romeo-and-Juliet-like love between Zoe and Noah whose families try to cut off any contact between the two. In my humble (boyish ;-)) opinion it was a bit too cheesy – sorry.

Nevertheless, as the plot is really good and the characters are interesting, it is a great dystopy for all readers who like a great deal of romance in a book. Watch out for the sequel Volition (Perception #2)!

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