Hey! What are you doing out past curfew? Are you trying to get killed? You're lucky you ran into me, the main character in a YA dystopian book. You can tell I’m the main character because I’m strong, and I’m quiet, and that's it. Those are my two things. C’mon, let’s get out of here.

My life is pretty much like yours. ‘cept for one thing. Toothbrushes are totally illegal. If the Mouth Police catch you they send you to mega jail. It’s like jail but bigger and where my rebel dad is. That’s why everyone’s teeth are messed up. Except mine. Mine are not messed up. No one knows why.

And if that’s not enough I just realized I have a CRUSH on a BOY in the Mouth Police. Man, being 14 but talking and acting like I’m in my 20’s in every way except romantically is crazy. My name? Crest. Can you keep a secret? This morning, when I was digging sand to make sand soup for my beautiful, weak little sister and mom that’s gonna die in 6 pages, I found… a brusher. A tooth-brusher. Everything is about to change.

You’re asking a lot of questions. Did you get bonked on the nog? Nog is short for noggin, I condense words so you know we’re in the future but only a little. Here, have some government-issued sugar rations. There are never enough to go around, so I got a job at the tooth mills to help us get by. I grind down teeth to powder, which makes electricity for the beautiful rich people cities. That's a huge plot twist that you can figure out by looking at the cover of the book for more than one second.

But I only grind teeth during the day. Because at night… at night I read. Books. That's my other big thing besides being strong and quiet and having crushes. And last night, I read about something called… a dentist. Everything is about to change.

But besides that things are normal if not slightly steampunk. The sky is blue, the grass is green, my best friend is an animal that’s WAY too smart… welcome to The Gums. Which rhymes with The Slums. Because this whole thing is a really weak allegory. Oh get down!

See those guys wearing latex as armor? Those are the rebels. They call themselves the 2-30’s. Get it? tooth-hurties? Mom says they just make things harder for all of us. Then she coughs a lot or drinks a lot or stares wistfully a lot. She doesn’t have a name.

No one has ever seen the face of the leader of the 2-30’s, which means no one has ever seen his mouth. Some people say he doesn’t even HAVE a mouth. Other people say he has a really big, joke-sized mouth. Just rumors. All I do know is…I have a crush on him too. Also, everything is about to change.

But these days there are more 2-30’s IN mega jail than out of it. *sigh* mega jail. I’m gonna mention mega jail about 5 too many times, so when the big reveal that the 2nd book takes place IN mega jail happens, you go ‘well, yeah.’

What's that? What happens in book three? Oh, the author is gonna get rich between the 2nd and 3rd books and remember that they hate writing, so it’s gonna be totally phoned in.

Alright, I gotta go. It’s been almost 6 pages and my mom is about to get killed by the government. I hate the government.

But I also have a crush on it.


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