Title: Article 5, by Kristen Simmons
Tagline: “Compliance is Mandatory”
Genre: YA Dystopian Apocalyptic Fiction
Goodreads Book Summary:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Who were the Characters?
The two main characters in this story are Ember and Chase. My favorite character in the story was Chase, although I did like being in Ember’s head and not his. Ember is a tough girl with a fragile heart. Her mother was outspoken, and seemed to pass that trait onto Ember. She is a great herione for the story with her mixture of bad ass and vunerablitity. When she stands up for herself I couldn’t help but cheer her on in my head. The author did a good job of not overloading us with feelings and thoughts from inside her head, which most authors do. Chase is the most intriguing character in the story. In some ways, I feel like the REAL mystery of the story is him. What is his story? Why is he so damaged? What happened to him? Throughout the book you slowly peel of layers of him, like an onion. Each one wanting to make you cry. He was such a damaged character, which is great to see such honesty in a YA book. Along with being a damaged, broken guy, he was also strong and calculating, action-movie sexy, and when you finally got through his SUPER tough exterior, there was a soft heart. I can’t wait to see more of his transformation in the next book.
What was different?
What was different about this story is that Chase is not a typical YA hero. As said before, he is broken and throughout the story Ember and the reader must deal with the consequences of that. It is often tough to watch and heartbreaking. This story also is an a great dystopian, post apocalyptic world where everyone must follow the moral statutes. Men must be strong men who are loyal to their military and woman must be perfect wives who are ever so obedient. Needless to say, this pissed me off.
What was similar?
I honestly haven’t read much YA post apocalyptic fiction, so to me this book was very different. I imagine that because most of the book is Ember and Chase on the run, that could be similar to other YA books of this type. Typical things do happen like running into bad guys on the way, but honestly I didn’t think it was too similar.
Where was the setting?
As said already, the setting was in a post apocalyptic United States, where many cities have been destroyed or evacuated with no one left. Areas of the country are clearly marked off as to where citizens are and are not allowed. Everyone seems afraid, if not of the military and the moral statutes, then of starving. The moral statutes are so harsh, even a pre-war fashion magazine is seen as immoral and having a baby out of wedlock equals death. As you travel with the characters you see a lot of the world, which is intriguing, yet very sad and scary.
When did this story take place?
Sometime in the future, after a war takes places that destroys much of the US. I don’t remember if the author gave an exact date or not.
Why did I like/dislike it?
I gave this book 4.5 stars because the character progression of Chase was SO well done. It was honest and gritty. Most YA novels get me all wrapped up in the romance, which this one did a little bit, but I was more wrapped up in the characters and how they were written so well. Not to say that I wasn’t swooning for Chase. Every time he saved or protected her I melted. The romance builds EVERY SO SLOWLY, which drove me crazy, in a good way. I didn’t give it 5 stars completely because the romantic in me wanted just a touch more on that side. Great book, I recommend it and am looking forward to the next one! Another thing I loved so much about the book is how extensive the world build up is. I just love how I could picture it in my head so clearly. Everything goes by in such a rush, but you still feel like you can picture the book as is it was a movie. Which, by the way it would make a great one. To add to the story, the author includes some cool info about it on her webpage. She includes a completely real looking document of all of the “Moral Statutes” that are included in the book. Here’s a link: LINK!