By Kristen Simmons
Starscape / Tor Teen, $17.99, 364 pages
Kirsten Simmons’ first novel, Article 5, is a work that will be enjoyed by young people captivated by post-apocalyptic reads. Article 5 is set in a futuristic United States, and this future isn’t bright. A religious, militaristic regime has taken over – no Internet, TV, newspapers, or air travel is allowed. Major cities have been abandoned, people go missing unexpectedly, The Bill of Rights has been destroyed and replaced by five moral statutes. The fifth moral statute (Article 5) states, “children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife.” Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller, raised by her rebellious single mother, does not fit this description. One terrifying morning, her house is raided, and the Federal Bureau of Reformation kidnaps Ember and her mother in order to “rehabilitate” them. For Ember, this means being separated from her mother and sent to a tortuous boarding school to be taught how to be a compliant, docile woman. When she rebels, she is beaten severely. What makes this heartbreaking loss even more painful is the fact that Chase Jennings, once the love of Ember’s life, is the officer sent to deport her—and murder her mother.
Article 5 is a suspenseful, action-packed novel that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. I recommend it to high school students and mature middle schoolers who enjoy imagining what life might be like if the wrong people were in power.
Reviewed by Emily Davis