A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Positive Role Models
Characters fight against repressive and inhuman laws honorably.
Violence & Scariness
A major child character is killed, offstage and not described.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A reference to brothers who "talk dirty."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some kids may be disturbed by the death of a major character. Otherwise there's not much to be concerned about here.
Is It Any Good?
What makes this stand out among others in the dystopian genre (at least for children) is that it doesn't shy away from the bleakness or hopelessness of Luke's situation. It also doesn't avoid the logical consequences of the situation the author has set up. The first third of the book chronicles Luke's living situation, as his loving but terrified family increasingly constrict his world until he lives almost entirely alone in a windowless attic room, and readers can feel the arid claustrophobia of his life. But she does it in a way that is fascinating and suspenseful.
Along the way the author raises many issues -- none of them are simple -- which makes this a good choice for reading groups and book discussion groups. It's never clear, for instance, how real the overpopulation crisis really is, and both sides put out exaggerated propaganda that makes it hard to find the truth. There are no easy answers or pat endings here.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
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