Friday, February 10, 2012

All Good Children (YA)

All Good Children. Catherine Austen. 2011. Orca. 300 pages.

The airport security guard is not amused when I drop my pants in front of her. 

All Good Children is a dystopian novel with a school setting. In this futuristic all-too-troubled society, a town is about to force a change. For the better, they say. But should we trust them?! The members of the school board, the members of the community--the powers that be--feel that some kids are too disruptive. Some 'problem' kids are keeping the majority of other students from learning. Or as learning as much as they potentially could. If, you know, obedience was enforced, and nonconformity not an option. If children would just do as they're told, and only as they're told, wouldn't the lives of teachers and parents go more smoothly? Wouldn't parents and teachers be relieved to see such a dramatic change in their children? No more fighting. No more rebelling. No more nagging. No more drama. Just peace and quiet. But. They're not talking about drugging a few children, targeting the students with obvious behavior issues. Every boy. Every girl. From kindergarten on up. One grade at a time. One school at a time. A whole town is being transformed. No child is left capable of thinking or acting for themselves.  They're mindlessly content to stay on task, mindlessly repeating the rules they've been taught. The hero of All Good Children has escaped this punishment...so far...his mom is a nurse, a nurse in the know, and she was able to prevent her son and his best friend from receiving the shots. (She only pretended.) But they are forced to act mindless all the same. Because they know what will happen if they show some life...so what would you do, where would you go, what kind of escape can be found?

All Good Children had an interesting premise. I'm not sure that I loved it. I have a feeling that I'd have found Maxwell Connors annoying as a narrator if I hadn't been forced to pity him for his situation. Because it is hard for Maxwell to witness this phenomenon.

Read All Good Children
  • If you're looking for a novel with a Twilight-Zone feel to it
  • If you're a fan of dystopias
  • If you're looking for yet another dystopian novel published in 2011 with an educational focus (like Scored, like The Predicted, like The Wikkeling)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Linda 12:50 PM  

I'd give this one a shot. It's on my tbr list now. Great review.

Chris 8:48 PM  

Despite your less than in love with it feelings, it still sounds like something I'd like! You have a way with books, Becky..you can make me read cereal boxes :p

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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