Rounded up at 5 stars
I am glad I read this book as an adult. I would not have understood it or gotten out of it as much if read earlier in my life.
What a refreshing take on such a controversial topic. Set in the dystopian future, Neal Shusterman's characters grapple with the topic of abortion and childcare. While not a one-for-one depiction of the reality of the pro-life or pro-choice arguments, the book's central question asks the reader to imagine life at the extremes, taking into account what it means to be living and if it is possible to live in a world where people (and topics) are not black-and-white, but rather, muddy and complicated, where both groups can exist together without war or hatred. The author doesn't take a side on the debate of abortion, but rather points out different takes and, ultimately, says that he (through his characters) doesn't know the answer.
While this book starts slow, the end is what ultimately earned this book the 4.5 stars from me, especially the last chapter.
“She thinks about the days before the War, when unwanted babies could just be unwanted pregnancies, quickly made to go away. Did the women who made that other choice feel the way she felt now? Relieved and freed from an unwelcome and often unfair responsibility . . . yet vaguely regretful?
Which was worse, Risa often wondered—to have tens of thousands of babies that no one wanted, or to silently make them go away before they were even born? On different days Risa had different answers.”
“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.”
“You see, a conflict always begins with an issue - a difference of opinion, an argument. But by the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn't matter anymore, because now it's about one thing and one thing only: how much each side hates the other.”
“People aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness all our lives.”
“Maybe it's the best answer of all. If more people could admit they really don't know, maybe there never would have been a Heartland War.”