Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Silenced (YA)

DeVita, James. 2007. The Silenced. HarperCollins.

Marena hurried down the street, past the long stretch of identical home units, the winter air needling her awake.

Marena can barely remember 'the before.' But when she does, she breaks the rules. She writes down her memories. She fights to remember each little detail--as painful as those memories may be--because they are what keep her her. The Zero Tolerance Party wants people to forget their individuality, to forget their uniqueness, their differences. To embrace the group collective. Marena and her friends attend YTF, which I *think* stands for Youth Training Facility. Marena is suspect because her mother was a "traitor" to the party. She was active in the resistance. Marena lives with her father, whom she hates, and her little brother, whom she tolerates just barely. In Marena's world, sadly, it is illegal to write and read and draw (at least the old-fashioned way). Even illegal to own paper and pen (or pencil). There are exceptions, of course, people can read the sanctioned propaganda of the ZT party to their heart's content. They're required to recite it daily. Required to worship the words of this book which tells them what to think and how to act. Required to make their pledge of loyalty daily before lessons can begin.

Marena's life isn't easy. And by resisting, she's only complicating things. But does she have a choice? The Silenced is a novel about choices. Difficult choices. It's a novel about finding one's voice as well. Does Marena have the right to remain silent in the face of such injustice? When everything is so wrong with the world? Do you?

The Silenced has everything I love in a dystopian fiction. There were so many things I loved about it. Details that if I were to include might spoil it for you. So I'll leave off just why I loved it. But it worked for me.

"I want you to ask yourselves something and really think about it. If I were to take away everything about you that you think is you, who would you be?" He let the question sit. "Because that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to kill whatever you think is you. There's no room for you anymore. There's only room for us." (166)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I really like dystopian lit, but have not yet heard of this book. Another one to add to the list, which seems to be growing longer by the hour. Great review!