Legend by Marie Lu
Genre: YA Dystopian
"What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in one of the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths-until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets."
I love this book. I've read it twice and plan on reading it many more times in the future. It has practically everything I enjoy in a good novel: excellent writing, intriguing, realistic characters, and an intense, action-filled plot. And although there is a lot of action in this novel, I like how Marie Lu doesn't just focus on that aspect, but also fills her characters with dreams, pain, and fears. I especially enjoyed Day's flashbacks and the obvious differences between him and June. Their relationship is highly interesting, and with this thrown into a futuristic world where the government is not what it seems, the novel is riveting.
I also liked that the romance aspect in the story is not the main focus, like it is in many YA books. The plague idea in this novel is in several dystopian books I've read (Reached and Cinder, for example) so it's not that unique, but everything else is different and the novel definitely keeps the reader on his toes. I give Legend a 4 out of 5 and recommend it for older middle-schoolers and up.
What I learned: People are not always what we expect them to be and we should live in the day-to-day because we never know if we'll have tomorrow.