Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant
Parasite is the future. As humanity tries to scrub and sterilize every surface they and their children might encounter, they reduce their bodies’ tolerance for allergens. SymboGen, pharmaceutical pioneers, design a solution for the world health crisis. They've genetically altered a tapeworm to combat allergies, diseases, and even act as birth control. All you've got to do is swallow one little pill, every couple of years. What could go wrong?
Main character, Sally Mitchell becomes the poster child for SymboGen, after almost dying in a car accident and being saved by her patented Intestinal Bodyguard. One problem: When she wakes up from her coma she has know idea who she is, who her family is, or what they're saying to her because she's also forgotten English. Six years later, Sally Mitchell is still an amnesiac living under the thumb of Big-Pharma and it isn't easy. They treat her like a lab rat and expect her to behave, while her family treats her like a child because the old Sally is gone and this one has only been alive for six years. All this pales in comparison to a mysterious pandemic afflicting people who aren't supposed to get sick anymore.
The tone of Sally Mitchell's voice is different from anything I've read in awhile. She speaks and thinks "young" in some ways because all she has is six years. However, she isn't stupid, she's learning fast, and her past traumas and current predicaments make her emotionally older than most. Her boyfriend Nathan appears to be the only one in Sally's life who sees her, trusts her, and is honest with her. This last thing is important, because as the plot-line increases in intensity it becomes abundantly clear that everyone is lying to Sally about something. And the more they lie, the more determined she is to find out the truth.
And I don't blame her one bit, because there are points where the lies and the manipulations flow so heavy, I actually got angry on her behalf. Who the hell are these people to say they have her interests at heart, when they haven't actually asked her what her best interests are? And who is Mira Grant, to make me look like a crazy person, yelling away at fictional characters? Then I took a deep breath to calm myself and read on, desperate to see how Sally handles each new deceit.
As a fan of Mira Grant's, I had high expectations for this book going in: I wasn't disappointed! She should get an award for coming up with creative ways for mad scientists to screw humanity. I found Sally Mitchell to be a compelling, oddly relatable, and occasionally frightening character. Her family is infuriating, the science sickening, and the conspiracy she finds herself unraveling is exactly why curiosity killed the cat. I couldn't put this book down. There were points that were creepy and gross, points where I cringed and felt as if I needed to shower with a sandpaper loufa. There were points that were frightening and heartbreaking. And at the end, I've got two big questions: What will she do now? And did her dad know?
I am horrified that I have to wait for a sequel... I want it now!