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SUGAR COATED by Shannon Crane Camp

An unhealthy addiction to sugar cubes, a deep-seated fear of water, and universal luxury—these are the simple things that make up 18-year-old Brynn's Utopian existence. Why, then, is her perfect life also plagued with unanswered questions?

Like every other resident of the planet Halcyon, Brynn's home provides everything she needs, money is unheard of, and life is perfect. But unlike the rest of Seaside's residents, Brynn has questions. Why can't people leave the city? Why does the ocean fill everyone with terror? Who are the Workers? Not only is Brynn curious where others are compliant, but she suffers from chronic nightmares of an angelic woman torturing her for information she doesn’t possess. But these are more than just figments of her imagination; they're memories of things that never happened.

When Brynn meets Jonah, a brilliant, library-dwelling boy who shares her questions and her curiosity, they formulate a plan to find answers. Somewhere, the perfect veneer of Halcyon's instant gratification hides a city that only Brynn knows about—a city she and Jonah are determined to find. But will finding the city give them answers, or simply uncover the horrific truth behind the perfection?

First line:
"Blinding white lights flashed into life, revealing a room less cavernous and imposing than she had expected."

3 Things I liked about SUGAR COATED:
1. The house!
2. Brynn
3. The world

Very cool, dystopian world building. I couldn't figure out the government system or the rules. Everything is perfect where Brynn lives. When a person reaches eighteen, they can move into their own house. And design it or furnish it anyway they want. They just tell their house want they want. Or if they need a Tylenol, they ask. They also name their houses. "I need two pain pills, Charlie." Out of the dispenser comes two pills. Cool. And whatever Brynn wants to wear, the house 'makes' it. I couldn't help but think of iRobots as I read.
I liked Brynn and her bravery and curiosity. She had questions outside of the answers the citizens were always told. She braved going to the beach, then down the beach, then into the ocean, even after being told all her life the ocean is dangerous and kills. Brynn has close friends, including Ty. Their lives are about clothes and parties and hanging out. But it isn't until after Brynn meets Jonah that she finds someone as curious as she is.
The world was intriguing enough to keep me interested without 'telling' me all about it. They could go to the store, order a shirt and the store would 'make' it right then. How? Brynn took a train once-a-month to visit another city. The train had no windows. Why? The characters rarely spoke of their parents or families. Only that at a certain age, they were on their own. There were many questions building up in my mind and not until the end did I get answers. And even then I'm not sure I understood the answers.
The book is an interesting and clean read. I think many YA readers would enjoy it.

 This story moves along and spins its tale. and
Rating: PG 13
V: No
L: No
S: Kissing

World building
TY (especially toward the end)



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