The Declaration is set in a world where a longevity drug has been developed that essentially lets people live forever. Sounds great at first - until you realize that if no one dies and people keep having children, population growth explodes and there just aren’t enough resources to go around. That’s why everyone who takes longevity drugs must sign a declaration saying that they will not have children.
15 year old Anna is an illegal and has lived in a “surplus” hall most of her life. She’s been told her parents broke the law by having her and indoctrinated by the cruel Mrs. Pincent to believe that her only chance to make things right is to be obedient and learn to become a “valuable asset” (otherwise known as a slave!). Her beliefs are shaken up when a boy her age who has lived on the outside all his life in hiding arrives and tells her “shocking things” about her parents and the declaration.
As in most dystopian fiction, the main conflict is man vs society but we also have a well rounded villainess in Mrs. Pincent. In fact, Mrs. Pincent is actually a vastly more interesting character than Anna who comes off as fairly bland (granted it is due to her very limited life experience). The beginning of the book is slow with big lumps of exposition and lots of scenes showing just how very inhumane it is to tell children they are worthless.
Things pick up when Anna decides it’s time to develop a personality and scenes with Mrs. Sharpe, a well drawn yet minor character are sharp and insightful. Even though the big twist is pretty obvious, it’s still satisfying.
I had really high expectations for this book so I was a bit let down that it didn’t completely live up to them. Still, I would recommend it to my fellow dystopian fiction fans.