The Twenty by Claudia Carozza

Published June 6th, 2012.  Self published by the author through CreateSpace.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation or monetary exchange was made.

Photo and synopsis from the Goodreads book page.

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Synopsis:

Imagine living in a time when infertility runs rampant and babies are no longer being born. The world is crumbling around you as people start talking about the end. This is the world Hazel DeSales grew up in. After her mother dies from a mysterious cancer, Hazel finds herself taking care of her younger sister Netty and alcoholic father.

It’s not until twenty women, known as the Elect, become pregnant all across the Barronlands when things start looking up. Hazel and Netty apply for jobs working as domestics in the Antioch Center where the Elect will be taken care of and protected. Hazel feels change in the air and her outlook for the future starts to improve.

But she soon learns that change is not without consequence. Rumors are brewing about a government cover up and Hazel finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. So begins the unraveling of secrets that uncover things from her past and, threatening her future. Hazel is determined to seek the truth and promises herself to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Rating:

Review:

This book was very enjoyable for me.  I was prepared to spend a lot of time hearing about Hazel and I found her to be a rather interesting character, so this wasn’t a problem for me at all.  Hazel lives in a world where the human race is going to be extinct soon, it’s just thought to be a fact.  Babies are not being born, women are not getting pregnant, and the cancer epidemic that wiped out much of the population seems to blame.  First, let me talk about Hazel and her family a little bit.  Hazel is very codependent.  Normally this is something that bothers me in a character but for her it makes complete sense.  Her mother died of cancer and her father is drinking himself to death in her absence, leaving Hazel to essentially become the woman of the house and handle all the responsibilities.  So in this way it makes sense that she is codependent, she has been forced into an adult role long before she was ready for it.

The premise of this book is that seemingly out of nowhere 20 women have become pregnant.  Since these women are the hope for all of the human race, they are going to be taken to the most secure facility around to be catered to until they give birth.  I suppose I can understand this mentality but it was a pretty big giveaway that this was going to be linked to the government somehow once they start segregating these women from the rest of society.  I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see more of these women.  Mostly we see then during the limited time that Hazel spends with them, mainly while they are eating, bathing, or going to the doctor.  I didn’t necessarily dislike this, but these women are the key to the survival of human beings so I was hoping they’d be a bigger focus.

I was absolutely thrilled to see that we avoided any insta-love in this book!  I can’t stand insta-love in stories because it isn’t real and it isn’t love.  But we didn’t have this in this book and I appreciated it.  I really liked Shane.  Granted, he came off a bit stalkerish to begin with but that quickly went away and I thought he was a very good match for Hazel.  They got along well and seemed comfortable with each other and things were moving along at a natural pace.  But then Hazel gets her job with the Elect and Shane neglects to write or make any kind of contact with her at all.  Rather than have Hazel shrug her shoulders and think, well it was a budding relationship anyway, and move on she broods.  I honestly couldn’t understand why she was thinking about him so much.  They only knew each other for a few weeks I believe, so what’s the big deal?  This is when I began to suspect that a love triangle was brewing.  Insert sigh here.  Then she meets Luca.  Luca is an awesome guy. He’s smart, protective, and sweet.  But he’s protective in a chivalrous way, not a jerk way.  I was practically shouting at my book for Hazel to fall for him..and she does.  They take their relationship nice and slow and it forms very natural and sweetly and I LOVED it!  Then at the end I was confused again when she starts freaking out about seeing Shane again.  I thought we were in love with Luca, so why are we still moaning about Shane?  Consider me scratching my head on that one.

I also liked the idea of people “disappearing” if they ask too many questions or find out too much information.  I was interested to see where this went and I wasn’t disappointed.  Overall this book was probably 3.5 stars for plot alone, but with my added enjoyment of the book it bumps it up into 4 stars.

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