Author: Kristen Simmons (Facebook)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publish Date: January 31, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.
Things have changed in the realm of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are new laws in place, there's an omnipotent governing body and things are definitely not how they used to be. But Ember remembers what life was like before...before the raids and the trials and the fines. There is always risk though, and even though Ember knows her life depends on anonymity for the most part, she's thrust into a spotlight when her mother is arrested. Her life changes in that moment. Life is no longer simply black and white, but shades of gray because Chase is at the center of it all, and there is always a choice.
Dystopians have become so hit or miss for me lately. They're almost the new paranormal, in a sense, as they continue to spin the same old, same old story. Because of this, it's a breath of fresh air when something challenges the boundaries of the genre, setting a new height and goal for other novels to reach. Article 5 is one of those books. It's that perfect blend of spine-tingling action, breathtaking suspense, vivid imagery and fabulous characterization that lends to a story line that soars far greater than the synopsis or summary can even allude to. Kristen Simmons has crafted an incredible story that is extremely well-written, flows beautiful and paints a painfully bleak and frightening future world.
There's a subtle undercurrent and theme that carries throughout Article 5 that, above all else, I feel the need to point out. We all have choices. Right or wrong, good or bad, obedience or defection...every single person has a choice. That applies to every member of society from the very top and trickles all the way down. Ember was a powerfully evocative character that displays this so incredibly well. She's forced into a terrible situation and she's faced with the easy decision to submit, or she can choose the hard path - to escape. In a nutshell, it's her choice that forces Article 5 into heart-pounding action. Her counterpart and love interest, Chase, is everything I wished for and more. He's lit from within, and his personality resonates. He's forcible, but kind, and there's a hardened exterior around him that acts as an armour, shielding him from the pain of society and every action he has to take. The progression of his dynamic with Ember was tragically beautiful, and yet powerfully hopeful, as well. The true power of the novel rests in the ability to skillfully paint the harsh reality of the world in which the characters live. The world was so very bleak, gritty and and raw, and the words perfectly painted that picture, nearly rubbing salt in the proverbial wounds with each turn of the page. And, ultimately, the characters, the writing and the brilliant story line merged seamlessly to provide an engrossing new dystopian that keeps you guessing and cheering for your favourite characters long past the last page.
I am always so happy when I book knocks me out of a so-so reading funk, and Article 5 most certainly did that for me. It was an incredibly well-executed debut, and I can't sing its praises enough. I give it a 5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy futuristic dystopian novels.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.