“Your family is the most important part of your life. Your families are the people you love, and love is what separates us from scoundrels and criminals. It maintains order. Your parents, your sibling, and your Partner are the ones you love. There should never, ever, be anyone else who comes close to that bond. You have only one best friend, and that is the person you’ll be marrying some day. We must learn to differentiate the relationships in our lives: the people we love, and the ones we don’t. It’s inappropriate, it’s foolish, and it’s forbidden to think otherwise.”
Trace Bailey’s mouth is her worst enemy—somehow it always gets her in trouble. Luckily, she has a partner in crime—her best friend and neighbor since age seven, Piren Allston. He can’t get enough of her crazy sense of humor, and she loves that he’s always up for another adventure.
They can’t be friends, though, not in their world. Trace and Piren were Assigned to other people at the age of six, and they’re supposed to marry their Partners when they turn twenty-four. Failure to comply leads to Banishment, a fate worse than death.
Worse still is the growing realization that their bond is stronger than just friendship.
In a world without freedom, there are still choices to be made. Following their hearts means losing their family, but following the law means losing each other.