Title: Fragile Remedy
Author: Maria Ingrande Mora
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.
I was completely blown away by the young adult dystopian read! I immediately fell in love with Reed, Nate, and the rest of the gang. The world created by the author is a rich and layered tapestry. I loved the family dynamic of Reed’s gang. The ending was perfect!
As an overall story, and as someone who gets really invested in characters, I found Fragile Remedy to be an entertaining read. There’s a little something for everyone: a tad of yearning romance found family and the fight for survival in a dystopic world. Nate is a hidden GEM who’s been smuggled out of Gathos City into the chem-addled Withers, and if he’s made, who knows what people are willing to do for his “magic” blood. Ultimately, Nate must keep his identity a secret from everyone he loves, and still find Remedy, the only thing keeping him alive.
This was such a refreshing read for the dystopian genre. The world-building is rich and is revealed through clever narration. The characters are so nuanced, diverse, and fleshed out through their interactions, rather than just info-dumping backstories. The romance between the three leads was so palpable just from Nate’s perspective, it’s still resonating with me.
I really like how easily I was able to slide into this small corner of this book’s universe. Although I wish we could have glimpsed more into Gathos City, I found that disconnect heightened the level of fear the Alley Cats had for their safety, from unseen dangers and overblown rumors.
This book is definitely not for the faint of heart. As much as I loved it, I did struggle with it for a long time. It was hard to get through and harder to experience all their hardship and everything they went through to make it to the other side.
Though this is not a relationship or love-focused story, I did enjoy the romance between Nate and Reed. But more than that I very much enjoyed the friendship between Alden and Nate, Alden wasn’t a good person and he hurt a lot of people but he was still a fantastic character and I couldn’t help but root for him and his adorable quirkiness.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and am VERY excited for the rest of the world to enjoy it too. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more Ingrande Mora, she is a force to be reckoned with.