Monday, September 29, 2014

The Young World by Chris Weitz

Series: The Young World Trilogy (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: post-apocalyptic, survival, viruses, love, adventure

Setting: New York City: Manhattan and Long Island

POV/Tense: 1st person past tense rotating between Jefferson and Donna

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 373 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $19.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.”

My Review:  I like this book so much more than I expected. I loved the character voice/narration, especially Donna’s POV. Jefferson was a good male lead too. The Young World is a dystopian with a simple premise similar to the Gone series by Michael Grant, or Lex Thomas’s Quarantine series, but like the movie Contagion too. No zombies, no adults, no little kids. All that are left are teens and it’s set in New York City.

The characters in the book couldn’t help but compare their situation to books and movies. Donna even said in was like The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. I love this sarcastic, self-aware, and pop-culture dropping stuff. Donna seems so cynical and self deprecating. Jefferson believes in honor, and he’s a bit of an idealist. His father was Japenese and he in Zen Buddist. His father was also apparently very old and more like grand-father age, which I though was a very odd touch. Maybe the author is basing characters off of family members? Jefferson likes to fight with Japanese swords that were a family heirloom. Donna and Jefferson like each other and maybe even love each other. Some romance happens, but there’s a lot of un-sureness between them. Love is had to find in the Pocky, as Donna might say.

Along the lines of interesting characters, the side characters were also very unique and played big roles in the story. There’s Brainbox who’s a mechanical genius, or just a genius in general. There’s Peter who’s gay and African-American. He’s a good friend with Donna. SeeThrough is a Chinese girl who father taught Jefferson martial arts. They meet a guy called Ratso later on and a girl named Kath.

Lots of stuff happens in this book. It’s well plotted and paced. The author writes and directs movies and you can see that influence his story. But he explores the first person perspective, which isn’t something you get in movies science you’re on the outside looking in. I love getting to know a character’s personality. There was action and adventure and fighting. If you like violence in your movies in books, but not so much to it gets boring, then I’d recommend this.

You will like this if you are interested in reading a good dystopian story, or a fan of The Hunger Games, Gone, Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas, No Easy Way Out by Dayna Lorentz, In The After by Demitria Lunetta, or other books about teens surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.

Cover Art Review: I love the title treatment. The characters are on the cover, but not sure who is who. Left to right: Donna (flag), Jeff, SeeThrough, Peter?, Brainbox?.

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