I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.
How would it feel to find out that what you thought you were doing was patriotic and serving your country but was actually causing hundreds of deaths? This is exactly the predicament Veronica (Ronnie) finds herself in when she's caught by a group of rebels out in the woods, and her world has effectively been turned upside down.
In The Letting, humans have gone nearly extinct after heavily relying on technology to do everything for them - so much so they've forgotten how to have human-to-human contact. One of the reasons this book was chilling to me was that we are very reliant on technology right now. I've heard many people say they'd rather deal with a machine than another human being, such as using a self checkout line at the grocery store rather than having a clerk check them out. So many times I've seen each member of my family sitting in the same room but each of us are staring at our individual cell phone or laptop screens.
I was dying to know what kind of process the Letting actually is especially once I realized what the names of the cabins refer to. You're kept in suspense for a while as to what it entails because Ronnie herself has been in the dark about it. I liked not knowing because it allowed my mind to run rampant with all kinds of horrifying possibilities, and when I found out what happens to the young girls after Ronnie has prepared them at camp - well, it's terrifying to think about.
The way Ronnie talks about these girls "paying their debt to society" by being part of the Letting makes it sound like they've done something wrong and are being punished. In our society, that's what we say about people serving time in prison, that they're paying their debt to society. So it gave me chills when she talked about the girls this way without realizing what was going to happen to them.
Phoenix is the leader of the rebels who capture Ronnie in the woods, and he was a terrific character. I looked forward to seeing if the two of them were going to work together to bring down their corrupt government, and if they ended up working together, how they were going to do it and if they'd end up successful.
On the other hand, I hated Gretchen, Ronnie's friend. I think she's a coward and probably one of the worst friends in the history of friends. I have a hard time reading about weak female characters, and she's definitely one of the weakest I've come across in a while. Ugh!
The world Cathrine Goldstein has created in The Letting is terrifying because it's so realistic but also hopeful for the very same reason. Hope is something Ronnie struggles with as she comes to terms with how she's been used and how she plans to retaliate in order to save the lives she wasn't able to before. The Letting had me riveted, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.