Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Genre: YA Dystopian
Book Description: In Deuce's world, an enclave deep underground, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed "brat" has trained to join one of three groups -- Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear -- to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading the ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning.
Fade doesn't like following orders. Deuce has never known a boy like him before, someone as likely to touch her gently as use his knives with feral grace.
As Decue's perception shifts, so does the balance in the battle for survival. the mindless Freaks, once considered a threat due to their sheer numbers, now show signs of cunning and even strategy... but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. No matter how hard she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.
Colleen's Thoughs: Enclave was a very intriguing and thought provoking read. It is set in the future after a major apocalyptic event. Apparently, only the wealthy and powerful were evacuated from the endangered cities, while the poor were left to die. However, the poor did not die off as expected. Many moved underground into the sewer and subway systems, in which the individual communities were called enclaves. The others who remained "topside" became "gangers". As stated by the author in the notes at the end of the book, "The poor remain in these wrecked, abandoned cities, still devoid of hope or resources, taking their rage out on one another. Therefore, the gangers are violent, vicious, and patriarchal." Because of this, there are a few disturbing issues. In order to propagate the ganger race, the males would find any females they could and use them for "breeding", and in their opinion, that was the only value females held. Fortunately, the author merely mentioned that such things happened rather than describing an actual event.
The underground population was less brutal, but seemed emotionally blank. People had jobs - Breeders, Builders, and Hunters - period. Nothing else was important. Monsters called Freaks plagued the underground world. The Hunters protected the enclaves, but somehow the Freaks became smarter and thus, more dangerous. Deuce and Fade are hunting partners; hunting for food and the Freaks. As their relationship deepens, Deuce begins to experience a broader range of emotions, confusing to her, but making her more approachable to the reader. Fade was raised above ground in what appears to be a more conventional family unit, and therefore views the world differently than the rest of the underground population. He recognizes the corruption in their government and resists conforming to their ways. He and Deuce explore both the underground and above ground areas in search of a better, more peaceful place. Their relationship develops throughout the book from being fellow Hunters and partners, to becoming friends. The romantic side of their relationship is mellow, but still present.
I particularly enjoyed the author's descriptions of the things that are so very foreign to this futuristic population - "relics" as they called them. Things such as cherry pie filling, pictures, books, flushing toilets, wedding invitations, the ocean, and even the sun - many things that are so familiar to us that we often don't think about or even acknowledge, are the things they find fascinating and inexplicable. Although I found this a dark, and somewhat disturbing book, I found myself smiling as I realized what those simple and familiar things were. Yet, as dark as it may be, Enclave is a poignant representation of what could happen to our world because of biological warfare. It provokes the reader to ponder our country's current course and wonder what can be done now to prevent such a disaster from happening.
There is a really cool trailer for the book at Amazon. Click ....here... for the link!