ISBN #: 978-1467925532
Page Count: 182
Copyright: November 14, 2011
(Taken from Amazon)
Helper12 works as a Baby Helper in Pre Ward, the place where babies spend their first six months of life before they're tracked for vocations and sent for training. She does her job well, and she stays out of trouble. But one day, the Sloanes, Society members who enjoy all the privileges of their station - family unit clearance, a private dwelling, access to good food and good schools - come to "adopt" one of the Pre Ward babies. The Director makes a deal and the Sloanes walk out with a brand new child.
They also walk out owning Helper12 - the Director sells her to them, and there's nothing she can do but go. At the Sloanes, Helper12 enters a world where people should be able to enjoy life - with high position and riches come the opportunity for individual freedom, even the chance to love - but that's not what she finds. The Sloanes are keeping secrets. So is their biological son, Thomas.
Helper12 has some secrets of her own; she's drawing, which is a violation, since Baby Helpers aren't tracked for Art. And she's growing to love the child she was bought to care for - at the same time that Ms. Sloane is becoming disenchanted with her impulse baby buy.
When all your choices are made for you, how do you make some for yourself? Helper12 is about to find out.
To be honest, when I first agreed to read this book I didn't expect to enjoy it very much. The setting and feel of the story is dystopian. There's a place where babies are bred for the menial, out-of-sight jobs that benefit Society members. Those jobs include picking up the city's garbage, laborers, thinkers, etc. Society members are affluent people who are born to the position. A person cannot go from being a part of the system to a part of Society ... legally, anyway.
Once you strip away the dystopian aspects of this book, what you're really left with a classic story of a boy and a girl from two separate sides of the proverbial tracks who fall in love ...
Helper12, whose real name is Benna, is almost illiterate. She only knows how to read the medical charts, and a few other things, needed to get by in her "job" at the Pre Ward. Thomas, the Sloanes' biological son, helps her by buying her a dictionary for his reader that he loans her. He also takes her out in public to the Commons and a park with a lake. Benna is awed by the things she sees, things that only Society members are granted access to. During their time together, Thomas and Benna begin having feelings for each other. They dream of running away to a place where they can be together without the risk of someone sending them to the labor camps for being together, which is a violation of Society rules.
Will they be able to find a place for just the three of them?
Helper12 kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. I rooted for Thomas and Benna the entire story. I also enjoyed the dystopian setting. It lent an added level of the forbidden to this story that any reader would appreciate. This would be a book that I would recommend to all lovers of fiction, despite your preference of genre.
*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.