Saturday, October 5, 2013
by Kristen Landon
A girl was taken from Matt's school today. Taken to go to a workhouse until her family got back under the debt limit. But Matt doesn't have to worry about anything: his dad is successful and about to sign the biggest deal in his life. Money has never been a concern for his family.
Then at the grocery store, it happens. His mother's credit card is rejected?!?! How can that be? Frantic, his mother drags him and his younger sisters out of the store. They try to call his dad, but get no answer. By the time they get home, a long black car is already there, waiting to take Matt away to work off the family debt. Although he rights, he has no choice but to go with "Honey Lady," the obnoxiously sweet manager of his new home, a workhouse for children.
Once there, Matt is scared and alone. Tomorrow's test will determine what level he works on, how much he will make for his family, and what kind of conditions he will live in. Will it be kids crammed together like level 4? Or the super posh level 1 with all the perks? But more important, why won't his family answer his emails? And above all, why are all the kids getting headaches? That can't be good for their work...
This book could be a great introduction into dystopian novels for boys. It's not too frightening or violent, so fairly suitable for late elementary and middle school students.
I like Matt's character and how he reacts to things. He seems fairly typical for the age, even if a little more proactive about things. I know lots of kids that might not necessarily like a situation, but being willing to break tons of rules and think outside the box to accomplish things seems a little unusual. But, if he was really as smart as portrayed, then I could see him doing these types of things.
Another thing that I enjoyed is the fairly realistic situations: boys playing basketball, brother and sister not getting along, boys getting into mischief, and stuff like that. While some of Matt's actions seemed a little outside the norm, the daily interactions seemed normal and believable.
Overall, pretty good book. If you have a kid that wants to read Hunger Games or The Maze Runner but isn't quite old enough, give this one a try!