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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Disquieting Haddix Novel an Intriguing Start to New Trilogy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Fredtown is a bright, clean village where adults and children live in harmony and love.  Twelve-year-old Rosi and her 5-year-old brother, Bobo, enjoy living in the pleasant utopia.  They know their "Fred-parents" are not their biological mother and father; they also know that they were placed in Fredtown because it was unsafe for them to live in the city where they were born.  Although Rosi and Bobo—along with the other kids in Fredtown—are curious about their origins, mostly they are content with their peaceful lives away from their biological homes.  

Then, something terrible happens.  The children are forced out of Fredtown.  Terrified, they're packed onto a plane and returned to their birth parents.  For the first time ever, Rosi, Bobo, and their friends are confronted with the ugly realities of poverty, cruelty, violence, and prejudice.  "Home" is a bleak, ruined world.  Used to comfort and affection from loving Fred-parents, Rosi and Bobo are frightened by the grim, unkind strangers who are their mother and father.

As Rosi learns to navigate life in this odd new world, it soon becomes apparent that the adults in her life are hiding some dangerous secrets.  In a world that seems built on lies, Rosi wants the truth.  And she'll stop at nothing to get it.

Children of Exile, the first book in a dystopian trilogy by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is an unsettling novel that asks important questions about identity, prejudice, love vs. hate, and nature vs. nurture.  Young readers will be drawn in not by its big themes, but by the story's mysterious, suspenseful vibe.  They'll enjoy plenty of action, interesting characters, and the constant question of what's really going on in Rosi's new world.  Although the tale is disquieting, it's not graphic, making it a safe choice for readers who enjoy dystopian stories but need PG content.  I've enjoyed many of Haddix's books and while Children of Exile certainly isn't my favorite of hers, it's still a compelling read.  Kids, especially sci fi and dystopian fans, should enjoy it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of the City of Ember books by Jeanne DuPrau)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scary images

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I like this author but it's been a long time since I read anything by her. This one sounds good for dystopian fans.

  2. I was underwhelmed with the only Haddix novel I read. Maybe I should give her another shot.

  3. This sounds like an interesting read, but then again, I am drawn to dystopians. :)

  4. This sounds like a book that middle grade readers would really enjoy.


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