Author: Robin Wasserman
Series: Yes, sequel: Crashed
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of US Publication: 2008
Synopsis: (from Amazon)
Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular -- until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life. Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime -- for which they must pay the ultimate price.
Lia Kahn before the accident would probably be the girl I would hate with all my passion. But that was intended by the author and wonderfully executed. Over the course of the novel Lia learns to accept her new self which is something I would probably not be able to do. In the dystopian future Lia lives in, people who have either lost their bodies due to an accident or are paralyzed have the option to buy a new body. But the Skinners (as they are called) are not accepted in society and as such Lia is horrified when she finds out her parents bought a new body for her instead of letting her die. I like the transformation she goes through, I like how she learns to accept that she is not the same person anymore and will never be again. Wasserman manages making Lia likeable surprisingly well, considering Lia is pretty much a "rich spoiled bitch" to say it in her words.
I didn't like that so little was mentioned of the world. Yes, atomic bombs were mentioned and that nobody wanted to live in cities anymore but something was missing for me. Maybe more is revealed in the following books (which I don't own, currently, so we'll see). Also, I never really got a grip on Lia's family. Her sister Zoei was very weird and hard to sympathize with and a little irrational, but that's probably normal after the accident her sister has had. Her parents are just plain weird. But of course, there is the option that all this is intentional, to make the reader feel the alienation Lia is feeling. If so, wonderfully done.
Sounds a little stupid, but I like reading stories about people who go from everything to nothing better than the other way around. Even though Lia tries to be the same, she can't and the behaviour of the people around her makes this very clear. I would not want to be her, in any case. I liked the way she started to get reckless later, but I'm not going to say much about this as it would spoil the story. But I loved the character development in this novel, especially Lia's but also Auden's (more or less the only "normal" person who accepted Lia from the start).
It's a novel you want to have read if you like dystopian. For some reason it wasn't a novel I couldn't put down but it was fun reading it and I'm going to read it again (probably) once I run out of money to buy new books again.