An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn’t let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.
This book was recommended to me in a session on middle grades fantasy/science fiction literature at the 2011 Children’s Literature Conference in Athens, GA. The presenter, Edie Parsons, discussed several books which were immediately added to my TBR list. This is the first one I have had the opportunity to read, although I have already purchased some of the others.
Anyway, I thought this book was particularly appropriate considering the economic conditions we are currently living in. Due to his parents overspending, not the kids don’t contribute to the problem, Matt is placed in a group home to help work off the family debt. He has to remain until either their debt falls below “the limit” or he turns eighteen.
I enjoyed this book although there was not a lot of depth too it. I thought the problems the kids faced were too easily overcome and there was too little connection made between the kids and their families. Surely, at least one of them would have exhibited signs of homesickness.
I would recommend this book to the kids who enjoy books in which the kids outsmart the adults . . . and isn’t that all of them?