Weitz, Chris, The Young World, 373 pgs. Little, Brown and Company. 2014 $19.99. Lanuage: PG13 (swearing); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13
A mysterious sickness wipes out the very young and all of the adults. The teenagers are left on their own to survive until the age where the sickness will take them as well. Tribes are formed, and the story follows one tribe and it’s reluctant leader, Jefferson, as he and a select few leave the safety of their tribe to follow a clue that just may lead to a cure. Along the way they encounter sheer evil along with kids just like them, trying to survive. Through it all Jefferson believes that they have the capability to rebuild and create a future society superior to the one the sickness destroyed. On reaching their destination, urban legends come to life and it’s up to Jefferson and his gang to set things right.
This is Oscar nominated writer and director Chris Weitz’s first novel. Weitz’s films include New Moon, A Better Life, About a Boy, The Golden Compass, and American Pie, so expectations were high. Weitz certainly did not disappoint. This isn’t your typical end of the world novel, and Weitz captures the essence of the teenage psyche beautifully. Twist after twist kept me reading way past bedtime, and my waking thoughts were consumed with finding time to read more. A thrilling cliffhanger ending left me absolutely salivating for more. I was, however, a bit disappointed with the explicit language in the novel as I feel that it limits the audience to older teens. As a middle school teacher, I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this fantastic book to my students for that reason alone.
MS-HS – ESSENTIAL, Reviewer: Rebecca H.