Book Review : All Good Children


All Good Children by Catherine AustenIt’s the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a seventeen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be “zombies” while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max’s family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown’s borders, Max’s creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.

Title : All Good Children
Author : Catherine Austen
ISBN : 9781554698240
Copyright : 2011
Pages : 300

Strengths

  • I enjoyed the world building of this futuristic dystopia.
  • Even though I disagreed with it, the author proposed a compelling argument for drugging kids.
  • It included intelligent discussions that raised the question of civil liberties and what we are willing to give up for safety. It did not draw any conclusions for the reader.
  • The characters were nicely politically aware and were to just buffeted by the events around them.
  • I was glad that the characters were racially diverse.
  • I liked the main character. He was not completely admirable, but that made him more relatable.
  • The secondary characters were also interesting. ***SPOILER*** I cried when Tyler died, and I was worried about Xavier.

Weaknesses

  • I would have expected more protests from parents or other adults in the town or outside of it.
  • There seemed to be a high incidence of bad reactions to the drug; for example, there were three identifiable cases in Max’s class alone. This seemed poised to cause protests or disruption to the government’s program.
  • Considering that the kids need multiple doses of the medicine to ensure compliance, I’m left wondering what the drugged kids think as they come off the drugs. Do they remember how they acted and that they were forced to be this way? ***SPOILER*** How will Ally feel?
  • I was disappointed in Xavier’s sister, Colette, for her willful blindness to Xavier’s condition and how it could have been her, had she been a few years younger. ***SPOILER*** Also, it was unlikely that she would have helped the Connors with the disguise and not be aware it might be used for something other than a Christmas present.
  • ***SPOILER*** The mother’s plan to steal a passport was unusual and unlikely.
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About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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