Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ARTICLE 5 by Kristen Simmons

Title: ARTICLE 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: Janurary 31, 2012
Number of Pages: 364
Source of Book: Finished hardcover signed at the Tor booth at the IRA Convention

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

So I'm a little torn with this book. One the one hand, once I got into it I couldn't stop reading it. I was sneaking it in and staying up too late to keep reading. On the other hand, I didn't completely connect with the characters in the beginning and the writing style felt a little stilted and obvious to me. Also, I felt it was pretty predictable. ARTICLE 5 has an intriguing premise for a dystopian, and I do love dystopian books, and I had a lot of hope for where it would go, but it felt more like a road-tripping story for much of the book, so I struggled with figuring out how I really felt.

I really liked the parts where it was more about fighting against the governmental system. The bad guys were definite baddies (including the government overall!), but sometimes I wasn't sure if a new (or old) character would turn out to really be bad or good, which is a good thing. I did connect more with the characters after the halfway point of the book, and I was invested in them getting past their own individual demons to see what they have with each other. The relationship between Ember and Chase had me wanting to root for them, wanting to scream at them, and wanting to cry for them alternatingly throughout the book. And I really had a hard time putting it down after I got to a certain point, and then I was sneaking in every minute of reading that I could so I could find out what would happen. Both Ember and Chase have some deep emotional journeys they need to travel in this book, and by the end, I was excited to see where they would go next.

Overall, I will definitely get the next book, BREAKING POINT, to find out what will happen, especially since I was left with a bit of a feeling of this book being longer than it necessarily needed to be - by the end I felt like it was really a big book of exposition setting things up for an entire series. I really liked Ember's strength and determination by the end of the book, and I do adore my tragic heroes and Chase definitely fits that bill, so I want to know what is going to happen in their lives next, now that I think the real action will be starting.

I'm kind of between recommending and highly recommending this book. As I write about it, I feel like my rating gets higher as I think back over all of the things I liked, but the writing style and the difficulty really connecting and the predictability makes me want to lower it a little. So, since I can't decide, I'm putting both. I shared these thoughts with my students today and asked if someone would read it and let me know a student's thoughts. It was snapped up right away by one as soon as I mentioned the angsty romance aspect. Can't wait to hear what a teen thinks.

1 comment:

  1. I really didn't like the road tripping aspect of this book; I think I tend to prefer dystopias where they stay in one place and especially when they have excellent writing to lift them up.