The Jewel by Amy Ewing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: September 2nd, 2014
Short Sweet Synopsis: In a world where the royals cannot reproduce, surrogates are trained to create offspring for the higher class citizens that live in The Jewel. Violet is now of age to be sold as a surrogate and quickly discovers that her training has ill prepared her for what her status really means in the society of The Jewel.
I read The Jewel based on a recommendation by a friend. We both LOVED The Selection series and she thought this was a good read alike. Yes there are girls in pretty dresses and they are somewhat competing for the favor of royals; however, the feel of The Jewel is nothing like The Selection. The Selection had a pretty light tone to it, but The Jewel was heavy.
While I thought The Jewel was great, I spent most of the book insanely stressed out about how Violet would become pregnant. The process of impregnating the girls, like all aspects of their lives, are kept secret. This unknown act kept me at the edge of my seat for most of the book; it felt similar to reading a horror novel and knowing that something terrible would transpire but not knowing exactly what it would be and when it would happen. It has been weeks since I finished The Jewel and it still unsettles me. I know I am making the book sound awful, but I'm of the opinion that if you are going to write a book about women being forced into becoming surrogate mothers for the wealthy it NEEDS to make you stomach churn, else the author is doing a disservice to what could have been a powerful story about women's rights.
The Jewel has more than just a super creepy plot; it has dynamic characters, a steamy romance, page after page of mystery, and an amazing ending. The whole book is pretty mysterious because of Violet's limited knowledge about her life as a surrogate. She has no idea what is expected of her until she is presented with a situation. You think you have figured out a specific character in The Jewel and the next thing you know they act in a way that drops your jaw. Is anyone entirely evil or are they just reacting to their situations? You just do not know!
I have to say that I'm pretty over the dystopian craze. It feels like deja vu every time I pick one up; however, I am very glad I read The Jewel because it was very different from other dystopian teen novels that have been coming out in recent years. I will confess that the beginning of the book will feel very Hunger Game-esque, but that wont last very long. You will swiftly get past that part and find yourself in a twisted world unlike one you could ever imagine. I've been told it is similar to The Handmaid's Tale, but I haven't read it so I can't verify whether or not that is accurate.