Maria Ingrande Mora
published: 9th March 2021
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.
Galley provided by publisher
CWs: abuse, descriptions of gore, starvation
Nothing quite hits like a found family in a dystopian situation hits. There’s something about the whole potentially-mistrustful people thrown together by circumstances who come to trust and love each other that is just it.
And that is what Fragile Remedy delivers.
In this world, rich people keep genetically engineered “bodies” as a cure for fatal lung-rot. Nate is one such “body”, but he is hidden in the Withers, a quarantined region. He is part of a small gang, led by Reed, but they do not know his secret.
YA dystopia used to be one of my favourite genres (not to say it’s totally fallen from favour now, I just read it less), so I always knew I would enjoy this book. It is a fast-paced dystopia, but still centered around a family, and fighting for your family.
I think it’s clear from the above what my favourite part of this book was. I mean, let’s be real, was it ever likely to be anything else? (Although I will admit that Nate and Reed came close.) Give me a found family fighting together and I’ll attach myself to them like a limpet. Yes, it did also help that Nate and Reed were so good, but I would have liked the whole family either way.
If there was anything I liked less about the book, it’s that it all felt a little superficial to me, plotwise. I’m not sure why, and it’s not like every book has to be some deep and meaningful story. It’s just that this felt sort of light on the ground. But hey, the characters and my love for them definitely made up for that.
So if you’re looking for a good, standalone dystopia, focusing on family (and, really, who isn’t), this is the one for you.