The Innocence Treatment by Ari B. Goelman

The Innocence Treatment

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is c...

Title:The Innocence Treatment
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The Innocence Treatment Reviews

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    I found myself quite fond of this book, which is why when I saw the announcement for the blog tour, I jumped on it! I have not been doing many blog tours lately, unless I 

    I really liked the book or author, so here we are. This came as part of my Macmillan Fall 2017 package, and was one of the reasons I picked said package, actually- it just seemed like my kind of book. And yay, it w

    I found myself quite fond of this book, which is why when I saw the announcement for the blog tour, I jumped on it! I have not been doing many blog tours lately, unless I 

    I really liked the book or author, so here we are. This came as part of my Macmillan Fall 2017 package, and was one of the reasons I picked said package, actually- it just seemed like my kind of book. And yay, it was! Let's talk about why, shall why?

    I liked the medical aspect a lot, and I liked that it focused on distorting the brain. Because frankly, that is so fascinating in a creepy "oh crap I hope this kind of thing doesn't actually happen" way. But it 

    plausible. Okay, maybe not this exact situation obviously, but 

    form of awful medical control. Look, I have read a 

    of dystopian and future-set books, and this felt very original to me, so I think that says quite a bit!

    me some unique formatting. This is done through Lauren's journal entries, her sister's footnotes (which were probably my fave!), and clinical session transcripts. The journal entries worked really well because the reader got to know Lauren quite well through them, so she didn't seem so abstract. And the other bits filled in some things that Lauren 

    privy to.

    I mean, brain surgeries? Not knowing who to trust? Not knowing what is happening to your own body? That is a lot for one person to handle, especially a young person. And 

    especially a young person who has spent her whole life completely oblivious to the truth of the world around her.

    Was Lauren reliable? I am not telling you, and I myself was unsure for so long. Which made the book that much more high stakes. Because as much as Lauren doesn't know who to trust throughout the book, neither do we as the reader.

    I flew through the book, not only because I was invested in the outcome, but just because there were constantly new twists and discoveries. Plus, the formatting made for a really enjoyable read as well.

    I think the only thing that I wasn't a huge fan of was that I did have some trouble believing the whole "not understanding sarcasm/lies" part- because I don't really know if that is how the brain works? But alas, it was easy enough to get over once I got into the book!

    A great fresh take on future/dystopian novels, from the plot to the formatting. It was engaging and entertaining, and a definite win for me!

  • Austine (NovelKnight)

    What do you do when you believe everything you're told? It's crazy, hearing that. Sounds like fiction. Which, in this case, it is though I know a few people out there that fit the description too... In Lauren's case, it's extreme and the surgery she has makes her truly see the truth. It's not pretty.

    I wasn't really sure about 

    . I know my reading tastes pretty well and none of it came off as "must read now" material. More like another YA dystopian which is 

    a genre I oft

    What do you do when you believe everything you're told? It's crazy, hearing that. Sounds like fiction. Which, in this case, it is though I know a few people out there that fit the description too... In Lauren's case, it's extreme and the surgery she has makes her truly see the truth. It's not pretty.

    I wasn't really sure about 

    . I know my reading tastes pretty well and none of it came off as "must read now" material. More like another YA dystopian which is 

    a genre I often read by choice anymore. Then I started it.

    If you've read 

    you'll be familiar with the alternate writing style of journal entries, interview transcripts, and medical memos for lack of a better descriptor. The timeline jumps back and forth between the journal entries and the transcripts, but it's all set in the past as you learn at the beginning that this book was put together by Lauren's sister following its events. I think the style, combined with the short length of the book, made it a super quick read and I found I flew through it.

    Lauren reminds me of what I was always taught to be an unreliable narrator. For a while, you're not really sure who's telling the truth -- her or the doctors and government officials. Picking one side or the other, as a reader, completely changes the experience too because you start looking through a single lens. I liked the way she's portrayed through her own journal entries as well as in the interviews. You see two different people, basically, and I took that as a sign of what the truth can do to someone. The 

    truth, not what someone wants to believe.

    This book really made me think.

    I liked the story concept too, but I didn't love it. The idea of "innocence" being considered a disability struck me as odd because much of the way Lauren acted made me think of when someone's called "sheltered." It makes more sense later on but all the science and genetics involved came off as a bit far-fetched to make it REALLY believable for me. But the story 

    enjoyable. And though we don't get much of it, I liked reading her sister, Evelyn's, perspectives looking back on the events.

    I can't say I was entirely happy with the ending. It's a bit too open for my tastes and not in the way that hints at another book but in the "we'll never know" way. I generally like more of a closed ending, especially for standalones.

    Ultimately, this book interested me in the way it had me questioning the characters and the government system in place in the book. Especially with current events, the idea of an "Innocence Treatment" is downright scary and not entirely unfeasible in some other form than what's described in the book. 

    is perfect for readers looking for a book written in a different style from the norm that makes you think beyond the text (think

    ) and I would definitely recommend it!

  • Reading Teen

    The not so distant future isn't looking bright, however this book's future is looking pretty blindingly bright because it was pretty freaking fantastic and I really enjoyed it and believe many readers (especially fans of the Illuminae Files) will too. 4 Stars ✨

    -Reagan

  • Ashley

    For the full review you can always look at

    ...please look at my blog...

    “There are some lies it’s nicer to believe.”

    So Lauren had a medical condition where she pretty much believed everything everyone told her, all the time, always. Think William’s Syndrome minus the teeth problems and the supravalvular aortic stenosis. But then Lauren gets an an operation that cured her of her extreme naïveté. Now she sees the world as it really is – she can tell when people are lying to her. And her worl

    For the full review you can always look at

    ...please look at my blog...

    “There are some lies it’s nicer to believe.”

    So Lauren had a medical condition where she pretty much believed everything everyone told her, all the time, always. Think William’s Syndrome minus the teeth problems and the supravalvular aortic stenosis. But then Lauren gets an an operation that cured her of her extreme naïveté. Now she sees the world as it really is – she can tell when people are lying to her. And her world sucks. It sucks a lot. She lives five minutes into the future (that 2031 is not that far away – only fourteen years – frightens me a little. I mean, I still have a hard time believing that the 1997 was 20 years ago…#harrypotter20) in a dystopian United States under the thumb of a shadowy government referred to as “The Department.” There’s all sorts of nods to uprisings and other calamities that took place in the 2010s and 2020s, and apparently kids in 2031 aren’t familiar with Harry Potter or Star Wars. That threw me out of the story a bit, because there is no way that will ever happen. I’m sure they’ll still be releasing Star Wars movies in 2031. JKR will probably release another book from the Potterverse come 2031. And I, being…much older than I am now in 2031, will still buy it.

    Anyway, life in 2031 is awful and Lauren is only just now becoming conscious of it. The story is told in the form of her journal entries, entries written a decade after-the-fact by Lauren’s sister, transcripts of interviews between Lauren and her therapist, and so on. Pay attention to the dates of each entry, as it skips around a bit. The story starts out strong, but as it progresses it slows down. I binged through the first 100 pages in less than a day but it took me two additional days to make it through the remainder.

    I did enjoy the characters in this book a lot, though. As a person on the autism spectrum, I related to Lauren hard. As a kid, I used to believe everything people told me, too…now it’s the exact reverse and for the most part I don’t believe anything anyone tells me. There’s a happy medium in there somewhere I should probably strive towards, but…eh. Too lazy and being contrary is fun. “Do normal people feel that way when they see their friends? Is this maybe a side effect of the therapy—that I might be getting too paranoid? Or is this real? How do normal people tell the difference?” Oh, Lauren, welcome to my entire life.

    Also: Lauren is smart in insisting on keeping her hair short so no one can grab it during a fight. I never got that about action movies/TV shows/books where the heroines would be fighting with their long hair flowing. First off: won’t it get in your face and impair your ability to see? Second: if I were their opponent, first thing I’d do is just grab fistful of that hair and not let go. Wear your hair up or wear it short, ladies, if you’re going to get into a fight.

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    Life has always been different for Lauren, who has an unexplained medical condition that forces her to believe every word she's told. When a treatment is offered that can make her "normal", she jumps at the chance, but the results brings on sudden, overwhelming paranoia.

    This story reads as a non-fiction work compiled by Lauren's sister, who switches between young Laure

    Life has always been different for Lauren, who has an unexplained medical condition that forces her to believe every word she's told. When a treatment is offered that can make her "normal", she jumps at the chance, but the results brings on sudden, overwhelming paranoia.

    This story reads as a non-fiction work compiled by Lauren's sister, who switches between young Lauren's journal entries and the therapy notes she was able to retrieve. The alternating timelines let us sample a bit at a time of each phase in Lauren's life: pre-surgery and immediately post-surgery (as she is forming her suspicions), and a few months post-surgery (when she has committed herself to a psych ward and is neck deep in full-blown paranoia).

    The thought of not recognizing sarcasm or lies is baffling to me, but it was really interesting to watch Lauren change. Even her manner of speaking in her journal entries reflects the changes in her, as she starts off sounding incredibly young and innocent, and gradually grows to sound jaded and wronged. The depictions of her concerns will feel familiar to a lot of individuals who have struggled with anxiety and paranoia, as they feel super authentic and really suck you in to the drama.

    You spend the bulk of the story getting down to the truth: is Lauren really suffering from delusions, or is the government out to get her? I won't tell you that; you'll have to pick this one up and find out for yourself!

    I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I flew through it. The formatting makes for a very quick read, and while I never fully attached to the characters enough to 5-star this one, I am delighted to have read it and would be very interested in reading more from Ari B. Goelman. I believe that this is a standalone, and it ties up the loose ends well enough by the final chapter, but if it is extended into a series, I would be more than happy to continue it!

    ableism, fat-shaming, violence, attempted sexual assault.

    You can read my review and more on my blog!

  • Mrs. Europaea

    Comprised of a series of journal entities and notes,

    was better than I anticipated.

    Lauren is a teenager that suffered from a mental disability who undergoes a surgical procedure that gives her cognitive abilities she did not previously have.

    Lauren's very genuine character worked well with the contrived reality she faced. No one was really who they originally appeared to be and watching their true selves be revealed throughout the book was an interesting parallel as La

    Comprised of a series of journal entities and notes,

    was better than I anticipated.

    Lauren is a teenager that suffered from a mental disability who undergoes a surgical procedure that gives her cognitive abilities she did not previously have.

    Lauren's very genuine character worked well with the contrived reality she faced. No one was really who they originally appeared to be and watching their true selves be revealed throughout the book was an interesting parallel as Lauren becomes stronger and self assured.

    I would have liked more background on certain aspects like the second uprising, how Lauren has successfully remained hidden for almost a decade, and more of what happens with Sasha but I was pleased with what Goelman did reveal and satisfied enough with the conclusion.

  • Amanda

    When I initially requested this book from Netgalley I thought it was merely a story about a girl who had surgery which cured her brain disorder that caused her to be gullible and not recognize sarcasm. While that was partially what this story was about it was also much more than that. Now that idea alone would have been incredibly interesting. But add in the super s

    When I initially requested this book from Netgalley I thought it was merely a story about a girl who had surgery which cured her brain disorder that caused her to be gullible and not recognize sarcasm. While that was partially what this story was about it was also much more than that. Now that idea alone would have been incredibly interesting. But add in the super strict government and this story was incredibly more interesting than I originally anticipated.

    Lauren made for an amazing main character and narrator. As she began to be able to detect sarcasm and lies I was immensely saddened for her. The realization that people were laughing at her and not with her, or that her sister didn't want to walk home with her nearly had me in tears. The transformation after surgery made her incredibly perceptive and led to interesting thought about what white lies we believe because it is easier that way.

    The plot was amazingly well thought out. The Department and all of its regulations were explained thoroughly, but not overly so that it bogged down the story or made it boring. It is believable to see how our country could go into that kind of state after an emergency, especially when you consider The Patriot Act that came after 9/11. When people are really scared the idea of more government security sounds comforting, not restrictive.

    As for the romance.. I could see the appeal to Sasha. He was honest with her about who he was, even if she might not like the idea of an informant following her around. At times though, his motives were not entirely pure and I'm glad that she didn't blindly trust him.

    This is one of the best novels that I have read in a while. I would suggest it to anyone who likes YA with a touch of science fiction. I would definitely pick up anything else written by Ari Goelman

  • Megan Anderson

    I was really, really lucky to win a copy of this book from the author in a Goodreads Giveaway.

    -----

    “The hardest lies to catch are the ones you want to believe” (206).

    And that, my friends, is the most important line of The Innocence Treatment. You’re welcome.

    Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit. The entire book is important. No, really! It’s important…and funny and tragic and amazing, and I wish I could go back in time so I could read it all over again for the first time. It’s just that good.

    I’m

    I was really, really lucky to win a copy of this book from the author in a Goodreads Giveaway.

    -----

    “The hardest lies to catch are the ones you want to believe” (206).

    And that, my friends, is the most important line of The Innocence Treatment. You’re welcome.

    Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit. The entire book is important. No, really! It’s important…and funny and tragic and amazing, and I wish I could go back in time so I could read it all over again for the first time. It’s just that good.

    I’m a sucker for unreliable narrators, and throughout the book I was trying to decide who to trust: Lauren, whose journal entries make up the bulk of the text; Brechel, the psychologist analyzing Lauren in the transcripts; Corbin, in the few times she shows up; Evelyn, with her teenage idealism and loathing for the Department; or Sasha, the spy paid to protect Lauren. Most of the story is told from Lauren’s point of view, so it’s hard to believe anyone but her is telling the truth, but in the transcripts we see a character who is as coldly calculating as Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock Holmes (a comparison Lauren makes herself, I imagine with a wry grin). Evelyn admits in her notes that even she doesn’t know the exact truth about any of this, though she is naturally inclined to believe Lauren’s account than anyone else’s. Because of this uncertainty, the book kept me on my toes and had me compulsively turning pages long after I should have been in bed. The book called me all day while I was at work, whispering at me to read just one more paragraph before class started…

    Full Review at

    .

  • Tiana

    There was something irresistible about this novel and I cant quite figure out what that was for me. I dont know if it was the format or the morally ambiguous characters, the unique plot or the government behind the scenes. Or maybe it was all of those things combined. All I know is that somewhere along the way I fell in love with this book and I dont think I will ever turn back.

    The Innocence Treatment fascinated me in a way I hadn’t been fascinated in along time. I got caught up in these charact

    There was something irresistible about this novel and I can´t quite figure out what that was for me. I don´t know if it was the format or the morally ambiguous characters, the unique plot or the government behind the scenes. Or maybe it was all of those things combined. All I know is that somewhere along the way I fell in love with this book and I don´t think I will ever turn back.

    The Innocence Treatment fascinated me in a way I hadn’t been fascinated in along time. I got caught up in these characters lives and how controlled everything is. I even got caught in the increasing violence and outbursts of action. This book slowly but surely completely sucked me into its world. I can’t sing this books praises enough.

    This book is best when most of it is a mystery so all I am going to say is that I loved it and if you love books with unique formats mixed with terror and mystique then you should definitely pick this book up. I 100% recommend it.

  • Sam

    I couldn't put this book down. The way the story is told, sprinkling information about the world and it's events here and there throughout, left me hungry for more. The main character's mind is really fun to dive into, and the format it's told in- a collection of annotated journal entries and transcripts- only added to it. I love a good dystopian sci fi, and this one was really interesting. Read it, please. The way Lauren changes is haunting- the information she uncovers is shocking- and the wri

    I couldn't put this book down. The way the story is told, sprinkling information about the world and it's events here and there throughout, left me hungry for more. The main character's mind is really fun to dive into, and the format it's told in- a collection of annotated journal entries and transcripts- only added to it. I love a good dystopian sci fi, and this one was really interesting. Read it, please. The way Lauren changes is haunting- the information she uncovers is shocking- and the writing feels very real.

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