In The Pledge (Margaret K. McElderry, 2011) by Kimberly Derting, 17-year-old Charlaina speaks her vendor language of Parshon and the universal Englaise just as she should. But she also understands the languages of the classes above her and that's a secret she must keep hidden. It's forbidden in the country of Ludania to even look into the eyes of someone of higher class when they are speaking. And looking at a Council girl puts Charlaina's life at risk.
But that's just the start of this story. There's also underground dance clubs, an ancient autocratic queen looking for her replacement, and more secrets--like who Max is and the language he speaks--that affect the lives of everyone Charlaina cares for.
This book is the first in a trilogy and was chosen as a 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. I need to get the rest of the books about Charlaina and her world!
The sidebar on Kimberly Derting's blog "The Road to Publication," shows how many other countries The Pledge has been published in--9 besides US/Canada! Is that cool or what?
Kimberly has another trilogy in process and a series, too. Check them out here.