Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Happened to Serenity- A Solid Early Teen Dystopia

In a not-so-distant future, 15-year-old Katherine lives under strict rule with her parents and younger brother in a Paternalistic society. Founded after the "Ecological Revolution" in the 1970's that made the rest of the world uninhabitable. Life in the Community is pretty simple. Everybody does their part, puts the community first, and the pursuit of knowledge and asking of questions is forbidden. When Serenity, her best friend's little sister disappears, Katherine is determined to find out what happened to her, whatever the cost.

In a crowded YA dystopian field, author P.J. Collins has managed to still create something original and engaging, if not completely unpredictable. Katherine is a typical teen. She's intelligent, compassionate, and worries about what the future has in store for her. Will she be matched with the boy she likes? Will she be assigned a good life role? Her only fault, ironically is her thirst for knowledge, and there are consequences for her inquisitiveness.

Though the story is set only a decade into the future, the community is extremely old fashioned and plain. Technology is absent from all homes, and farming is the primary industry. They churn their own butter, chop their own wood, and have no media except a device called "The Remote" which broadcasts community news.   As I read this, I was reminded of Margaret Peterson Haddix's book "Running Out of Time", and those familiar with the book will see the similarities.

The society is well thought out and believable, but when the story necessarily moves to the real world, I felt like the story lost credibility. Things seemed to work out a bit too quickly and conveniently, and I just couldn't buy it. While the author does indicate that Katherine's parents live somewhat on the edge of the rules, I had to question why it seemed like nobody else had any questions about their world. The community was only about 40 some odd years old, and most of the adults were young children when they were brought there. Is it really likely that they all fell in line with the history so easily? Maybe, but it just felt a bit too easy to me.

Being that it has little romance, and a low degree of complexity, I can't see older teens being too interested, but young teens who are just getting into the genre should enjoy it.