Heartswell by Kelley Greene
During a biology lesson in boarding school, Bocas is finally able to put her finger on what was different about herself and her siblings — genetics. The state had long ago removed the genes that allowed society to experience negative emotions, but for some reason, Bocas, Talia, and Connel Spero seem to feel everything. Discovering and naming the emotions only slightly takes the sting out of being relentlessly teased by her classmates. Bocas dreams of one day being truly happy again, like everyone around her, but the only memory she has of that emotion is before her father died.
One night during her favorite pastime, wandering the hallways after lights-out, she finds a door to a room she’s never noticed before. After investigating, she discovers that she and her siblings are being monitored–but why? And she becomes even more suspicious the next day when a cryptic announcement is made that Hawthorne’s Magistrate is coming to audit the school.
Before they know what’s happening, the three Spero children are on the run from becoming a science experiment. But what they don’t know is that they were already part of one, and that the perpetrator is someone they trusted…
Overbearing Talia attempts to keep everyone in line, while Connel misses his popularity and his friends at school. Bocas longs for freedom–from everything–Talia, Connel, the Magistrate, and her emotions. The Spero kids must learn to work together to keep themselves safe, and to learn the truth about who they are–and why they are.
The Book Doctors:
We think this is such an interesting idea for a story–that society has removed the genes necessary to feel negative emotions, except for our heroine and her family. We’ve read 10,thousands of pitches and we’ve never seen that one before. But we’d like to know how this manifests. We want you to show us, make us feel the burden of depression and sadness that our heroine feels. We’d also like a physical descriptor of our heroine. That would help us to see her and to empathize with her. We do like the mystery within the mystery here. That’s very cool. But we’re not sure exactly who is chasing these children, and what they’re going to do to them once they find them. And please give us some comparable titles here. We hate to sound like a broken record but we need to know where this fits on the shelf!