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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

The Young World by Chris Weitz
Series: The Young World #1
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopia

   buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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.

*An advanced readers copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

The end is here, and everyone wants their iPod back.

This book was weird for me.

Having recently left the age group which would survive this disease I felt very much like an outsider on the world as a whole.  Does this actually change if the book was good or not in anyway? No, I actually struggled to put the book down during some scenes, but if you are above eighteen and thinking of picking up a copy of this book, keep this little thought in mind.

Anyway, Young World is very much a reminder of the Gone series that came out not to long ago, except without the fun superpowers or little brothers. Yeah, Young World isn't child friendly in the sense that everyone who isn't a teenager is dead.  This creates a pressure on the characters because if they can't save the world no one can.  So, the plot is pretty good in that sense that they are rushing to save everyone.

There are two main characters, a boy, Jefferson and a girl, Donna, and the entire story is told from their swapping points of view.  If you can't tell by the genders of the main characters, there is romance in this book and it's not great, but it's not going to make you scream either.  It's high school love during the apocalypse: all the same drama, but while people are trying to kill them and all their friends.  Does this make the book bad? No, I think it reminds the reader that these are teenagers, but I did find myself rolling my eyes at points.

The action is heart-pounding and if you are looking for a book that shows the complete collapse of civilization then I highly suggest this book because, at times, I was in utter shock, not because the writing or characters seemed unrealistic, but because it was just so horrible, but completely possible.

As for the flaws of the book, and the reason I'm only give it three targets, is the characters.  For starters, I cannot say the side characters were amazing, or even really there; it was the same characters you always read about in young adult literature: smart guy, funny guy and the sexual woman.  I cannot remember a single one of their names and both of the male characters just felt so predictable it was disappointing.  The female was interesting because of her back story, but even then, there wasn't anything shocking or new.  Both Jefferson and Donna are like this, you know what they are going to do before the scene even properly unfolds and it can really ruin some of the book.  I was happy about Donna's clever and feminist character, but it still felt like a lot more could have been done (like not worry about still being a virgin, or less interested in Jefferson's relationship status). And Jefferson is the immortal hero, same brave leader who you just stop caring about because they never die.

Finally, there is literally no character development, none of the characters grow up, none of characters change and what the hell is the point of a plot if it doesn't change your character?  Does it make the rest of the book bad? Not necessarily; the action is still awesome, the premise is still believable and interesting, and if you love the death of the world as we know it, then this shouldn't be a problem. Maybe that's all Young World is, a telling of the end of the world through a teenager's eyes.  If that's true, though, then why have all the romance and drama?  Just tell your story and use one main character's perspective!

Final Summary: if you love dystopian literature, you fall under the niche of "teenager" and you don't mind some boy next door at the end of the world drama, than I suggest Young World, otherwise sit this apocalypse out.

Three targets slayed