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Source: Raincoast Books for review
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover, 364 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2012
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.Standing at the top of its genre, Article 5 presents a compelling, emotional read that you won't want to miss.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
The action begins to unfold from the minute this book is opened. The oppression and brutality of the new world is almost startling to read and I don't think I got quite used to it at any point while reading. That being said, it did feel remarkably realistic for a country ruled by violence and fear. There's something to be said about the fact that Kristen Simmons does not gloss over the harshness and yet still manages to evoke such hopeful feelings in me.
Those hopeful feelings were mostly thanks to Ember and Chase, the leading characters. Ember is everything I could hope for in a protagonist. She's strong in the face of danger and can stand her ground but still has that vulnerable side that's just desperate to find her mom safe and sound. Through all of the hardships Ember goes through, she remains resilient and gets only increasingly brave.
Right by her side for a good deal of the action is Chase, Ember's childhood sweetheart. Chase has been through his own share of traumatic experiences and is hardened because of them. That's why it's even sweeter seeing him with Ember where he's perhaps just a little softer, but it's a change that's noticeable. Watching Chase and Ember chip away at the wall that has come between them is a struggle (these two are way too good at keeping their emotions buried) but so definitely worth it.
This is the kind of book that you won't be able to put down. With constant action and characters that manage to worm their way into your heart, you'll want to keep reading until you've finished. At which point, of course, you'll lament the fact that you don't have the second book waiting for you to read. Article 5 kept me up late and had me thinking about it for days after - that's what I consider the mark of an excellent book.
Cover Comment: I don't have too much to say about this one. I think it fits the story reasonably well and it's cool to see Chase rocking that army wear. Nice!