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Synopsis

It was clear to everyone that the public schools were failing. The causes were varied: increasing parental absence, a negative peer group influence, and a sexualized, media-driven marketplace. To combat these problems, a program called Dormant Enhancement was developed by a team of educators and scientists. By the year 2018, it was the law of the land. Now all children on their twelfth birthday are required to enter the program—no exceptions. They are placed in individualized cubicles to receive uninterrupted programming and to avoid negative pressures from their peers. They graduate on their sixteenth birthday, in every way superior to their counterparts of the previous century. The nation is delighted with the results. It’s 2024, and Sharon Bradbury’s husband has just died. They have been living on their ranch in the Australian Outback, where they’ve been raising their two boys, eleven-year-old Eric and eight-year-old Brock. Sharon’s parents have invited her and the boys to return to live with them in Carmel, California. Grieving and lonely, she accepts—not realizing that Eric, who was born in the U.S. just before they moved, is required to enter the Dormant Enhancement program. When she fights to keep her son out of the system, she makes a discovery that puts her life and the lives of those she loves in danger.

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