Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles 1)
By: Lauren DeStefano
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2013)
A Young Adult dystopia fiction review
On the floating island of Internment, Morgan Stockhour wonders what lies beyond the Edge of her world, about the forbidden ground below. How different is life there, really? Why is it so dangerous that even to approach the Edge will mean it is too late? Above all, why does it hold such a powerful fascination for her? Is there something wrong with her that she still longs to know more, even after a trip to the Edge blinded her brother? Then violent incidents start occurring on civilized Internment and the neat borders of Morgan’s world start to bend in ways even she couldn’t imagine…but how far before they break? When on a floating world, just how many ways are there to fall over the Edge?
DeStefano’s take on teenagers discovering their ordered world comes at a terrible price stands up well to predecessors like The City of Ember and The Giver. Internment’s well-defined myths, its ever-unfolding laws, and the casual delivery of its entrenched perspective bring this world to life. Through Morgan’s eyes, readers realize the norms and assumptions of Internment’s citizens as if they were our own; DeStefano lets us belong there rather than thrusting us abruptly into her world like most dystopian works. The duality between growing into our knowledge of Internment as Morgan knew it at the same time as Morgan unearths the lies behind that facade brings the emotions and questions of Perfect Ruin straight to the reader in a unique way. The sharp individuality of Morgan’s supporting characters keep entwining the audience further into this world, this life, these questions, because they illustrate so clearly what lines of thought belong to them personally and which come from living in this particular space and time.
Perfect Ruin starts with a somewhat cliche dystopian setup, but through DeStefano’s writing style and the interplay of relationships, it lends the familiar aspects of this plot a more intimate emphasis, and rather different punctuation. Here, questions come with clouds and wedding rings put a period to many ordinary statements. It’s these details that moved me the most and enticed me to keep on reading, and feeling, along with Morgan. I invite you to do the same and go past that book cover’s Edge…to see how far you fall with Perfect Ruin.