Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

The Young World 
Author: Chris Weitz
Release date: July 29, 2014
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received from NetGalley as an ARC for review.

Wow! I consumed this post-apocalyptic world story--the first book in a trilogy. In this world the Sickness has killed all adults and small children. Only teenagers are immune, well, that is until they age to about 18 and then they die. As you can imagine this world is a world of NOW because these teenagers don’t have much of a tomorrow--humans are headed for extinction since the sickness also sterilized the teenagers.

Jefferson and Donna are the two main characters whose stories are told in opposing chapters. Donna will make you chuckle as you face the worst humans have to offer. She also gets philosophical and addresses social issues in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. She got me thinking! Jefferson is the leader who inspires a desire in a group of teenagers to face the dangers beyond their own little corner of the world and go on an expedition to see if they can find out what caused the Sickness in the hopes of finding hope for a future.

These are the adjectives that describe this story: scary, exciting, heart-pounding, depressing, and thought provoking. In fact, until I reached the ending I was ranking this novel as a five out of five star book for me. Unfortunately the ending was disappointing. After the AMAZING story that had pulled me in and kept me up late at night, I reached a very blah conclusion. My reaction after the nail-biting final 50 pages: “Wait, what? This is the ending, really?” It reminds me of some of my students’ story endings. You know the type...after they’ve gotten tired of writing and need an ending since a draft is due tomorrow. Those ‘And then he woke up from the dream!’ endings.

Here’s the thing: I know this is a trilogy, and I so valued every bit of this story up until the last 3 pages (literally!) that I am still going to recommend the book to my students, and I will be very curious to talk to them about what they thought. Maybe I’m just not getting something, but I felt like the ending completely devalued everything the characters (and the reader) had been through up until that point. And I get that this is a trilogy, and the author maybe wanted a cliffhanger, but it felt REALLY abrupt.

As strange as this may sound, I really do recommend you read this novel...AND THEN come talk to me immediately! I want to know what you think. And then we can read the next book together :)

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