I'm remembering a book I read (possibly as long as 15 years ago but I have no real idea of when it was) about a dystopian society, possibly set in the future (sound familiar?). The book, if I recall correctly, mainly tells the story of two people. One boy, who works as a laborer, and one girl.

The society changed at some point when they figured out a way to identify people's bloodlines and they were color coded (I think there were 3 categories - I remember red and green at least). So the girl's father was classified as the highest class and her mother turned out to be either middle or the lowest so the father left them. She ends up being half (or full?) high class but stays with her mother (and maybe brother too).

Everything is electronic and all of their information (personal info and money) is located in a kind of electronic chip somewhere in their arms or hands.


2 Answers 2


Shades of Gray

This could be Shades of Gray, by Jasper Fforde (not to be confused with 50 Shades of Grey).Made more confusing by the fact that one has a Red Room and the other has a Green Room.

They would go into the Green Room and partake of the color painted within—the shade of green that you saw only once in your life, when it was time to go. The color painted within the Green Room was known as “sweetdream” and would render you unconscious in twelve minutes and dead in sixteen, but during those twelve minutes every synapse in your brain would fire in a sparkling fountain of pleasure.

Everyone has, not an electronic chip, but a barcode. According to Fforde, everyone has barcodes growing out of their nailbeds.

She had decoded seven of the known thirty-one variants, yet had been unable to explain exactly what benefit bar codes held over numbers, nor why almost everything tended to have them. Not just all the pre-Epiphanic artifacture but almost everything else, too—from Perpetulite to oaks, yateveos, slugs, fruit flies, mice, root vegetables, rhinosauruses—even us, with something similar to a bar code growing out of our left-hand nail beds.

The society is stratified by which color one can see, with a lot more than Red or Green (although they do seem to be mentioned quite frequently).

I found Jane, too, or perhaps she found me. It doesn’t really matter. We found each other. And although she was Grey and I was Red, we shared a common thirst for justice that transcended Chromatic politics.

The protagonist is reassigned as a laborer for playing a prank on the son of a prefect (TVTropes Warning):

“No,” I replied. “I made Bertie Magenta do the elephant trick at lunch. Two jets of milk shot out of his nostrils and went all over Miss Bluebird. I successfully pleaded Prank status, but the head prefect thought a bit of humility reassignment in the Outer Fringes might be good for me. Bertie is his son, you see.”

The woman, Jane, is a Green, but a weak one (half-high-class):

“Problems?” I asked, sitting down next to her. “Only of a personal nature. It won’t alter our Grand Plan. It’s just that, well . . I turned out twelve percent Yellow.”

I laughed. It was only 2 percent above threshold, so was as good as nothing, and for Jane’s huge dislike of Yellows, there was the nub of a fine joke about it. “You’re no longer a Grey. That must make you a Primrose, minimum. Has Bunty asked you to spy on anyone yet?”

“Eddie,” she said with a serious look that I didn’t much like, “there’s something else. I’ve also got fourteen percent Blue.”

She does have a brother:

“He’s with me,” said Jane, coming out of the house, holding a plate with a slice of cake on it. “Clifton, this is the swatchman’s son. Red, this is Clifton, my brother.”

In addition, she ends up not marrying the protagonist in the end, because they are complementary colors.

This was published in 2009, so only six years before you asked your question. That and the electronic chip would make it seem unlikely that this it, if not for the strong evidence of the color-coded society.


"The Diary of Pelly D" by L.J. Adlington is another possibility.

Description from Goodreads:

Pelly D thinks her whole glorious life stretches ahead of her; but young building worker Toni V has just found her diary, buried in a water can, in rubble, in a construction site. There's a note: Dig, Dig Everywhere. It's forbidden, Toni V knows, but curiosity drives him on - he hides the diary, and begins reading. Pelly D seems like any ordinary girl talking about clothes, parties, boys - but below her words, Toni V senses something very different, sinister and scary unfolding. Set far in the future, on a distant planet, Pelly D's diary bears witness, through her unsuspecting young eyes, to the terrifying impact of genetic classification of people. A story inspired by The Diary of Anne Frank.

A reviewer mentions three types of stamps: green=Galrezi, Blue=Monsumi and Red=Atzumi.

This book is about a girl called Pelly D. She is a girl that has all that she needs. She lives in this 5 story building and has her own room, along with a flat screen T.V, king size bed, her own laptop and even had her own walk-in closet. Her family also owned a 3-D hologram pool. Although later she had to move out for a serious problem. The problem was that each person got a stamp in their hand. The stamp had 3 colors that have 3 different symbols. The colors were green= Galrezi, Blue=Monsumi and Red= Atzumi. Pelly was the most popular girl whos turn into a big loser because of her stamp. Green was the worst and that is what POelly got. Sice she got green, she had to give her house to an red person and she had to move to this ugly house. Then on the other hand their was this guy named Toni V. Toni had found Pelly's diary whille he was digging. He felt sorry for Pelly D, but the book ended where Pelly found her love while Toni still wondering about the book, he was confused.

  • Is there any chip involved? This sounds like a stronger match than my answer, because of only three colors, but it would help to match the other points.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 17:40
  • @Adamant, I don't know, I haven't read it. The father being highest class and leaving them is there: publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-076615-3
    – Ayshe
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 18:38

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