This is the first thing I've read from Neal Shusterman, and I'm hungry for more. I'm especially hungry for the sequel to this book. I'm eagerly anticipating what he'll do with the story.
I read several reviews of this story, and I had to laugh at some. People seem to be disappointed by the idea that this story doesn't relate entirely to reality. This is fiction; by definition alone it has full freedom to depart from reality whenever it chooses. I like dystopian novels because they give me a fantastic story in a setting to which I can relate. If I want a fairytale, I'll read fantasy. If I want true reality, I'll just turn on the television.
That said, the author gives us plenty of concepts that do relate to the world as we know it. Had I lived during the days of slavery, I doubt I would see much difference in the way people justified such horrific behaviours. The same with a Nazi concentration camp; as a race, we are capable of terrible acts that we justify with outlandish reasoning. So the premise here is not entirely as unimaginable as others would think. And we all know that policy isn't implemented in a day. I didn't get the impression that unwinding laws were either.
I did simply skip the dismembering chapter. I think that whole detailed description is too much for any adult, young or otherwise. Some images you just don't want in your brain, with free reign to haunt your nightmares.
I commend Mr. Shusterman for tackling so many issues - abortion, adoption, the lack of control that teenagers have over their own lives when it comes to the government. The whole story kept me engaged. I've recommended it to my kids.