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I read this story in middle school or high school and I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. I think it started off in a small clan of people, there was a young boy who had just come of age and he had some kind of gift that related to the books? Also I think the injecting was illegal, because I vaguely remember the boy encountering an old man who had a bunch of books that he had to keep hidden. There was also a city and he met a girl there that was Special some how. I may just be merging memories but I think at some point the boy and girl went to an underground city?

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

  • 1
    When were you in middle / high school? What country? Do you remember anything else about the plot? – FuzzyBoots Oct 11 '16 at 10:10
  • 2
    Are you sure they injected them? What you've described fits 'Fahrenheit 451' quite nicely otherwise. – Valorum Oct 11 '16 at 10:17
  • Also you could be misremembering Devil On My Back - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/121623/… which shares some of the ideas? – moopet Oct 11 '16 at 21:13
5

Perhaps The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick?

They are not injecting books in the novel, per se, but there are mind-probes, I think they were spinal taps, used for directly downloading entertainments and such, more analogous to movies or video-games. The main character is a young boy who can't use them, because of a preexisting medical condition (epilepsy) - his "special power", perhaps, because I recall the mind probes have many dangerous and negative side effects.

The book starts with the main character, Spaz, and his adoptive family. He is also sent on a mission to find an old man who was hiding books (the "lost arts" or secrets of literacy and literature) - because they were valuable, because that knowledge was lost, because, I think, reading did something actually opposed to just using mind-probes, maybe encouraged thinking instead of just receiving entertainment?

The end of the novel has Spaz and a few other characters, one of whom was a "special" girl who belonged there, going to the hidden or forbidden city of "proovs", improved people, who had a beautiful society. I don't recall if it was actually underground, or just walled off, though. Those who came in with the group who weren't already improved got kicked out, and after that was the general revelation of why the mindprobes were bad (brain damage or something), so the mind probes got shut off (to the unhappiness of those using them), general themes of society having to restart, and the book ends with Spaz finishing the old man's work of writing a book, the title "last book" since no one else learned the secrets.

It isn't a perfect match, but it seemed like a fairly close fit. I hope this helps.

0

Although It does not fit all of the criteria, your question sounds like it could be referencing The Giver by Lois Lowery:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

It is set in a society which at first appears to be utopian but is revealed to be dystopian as the story progresses. The novel follows a 12-year-old boy named Jonas. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness", a plan that has also eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of Receiver of Memory, the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness, as there may be times where one must draw upon the wisdom gained from history to aid the community's decision making. Jonas struggles with concepts of all the new emotions and things introduced to him: whether they are inherently good, evil, or in between, and whether it is even possible to have one without the other. The Community lacks any color, memory, climate, or terrain, all in an effort to preserve structure, order, and a true sense of equality beyond personal individuality - Wikipedia

  • It's a dystopia with a small community with a young male protagonist with a gift. I'm not certain if I get the "book injected in the neck" connection. – FuzzyBoots Oct 11 '16 at 14:38
  • Yeah, that's why I started by saying that it doesn't fit all of the criteria, but perhaps either the OP may have miss-remembered or this could help round down the possibilities on the correct answer. – Austin Oct 11 '16 at 14:42
  • The big difficulty with this is that "small community", "dystopia", the number of genders of main players and the "gift" are all very, very common. I can find scores of stories to fit each of those points on my own bookshelves. The only really distinctive fact cited is the injections, and The Giver doesn't have them. – dmckee Oct 11 '16 at 19:27

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