Dystopian · SERIES · YA Series

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.

The Bill of Rights is gone.  Do you realize how frightening that sounds?  It truly is scary to think that we get closer and closer to a reality very close to the theme of this book every day(my opinion–this isn’t a political debate so no hate mail please 🙂 ).  In the book there is talk of a “war” that occurred three years ago but no details are really given, I’m hoping for more in books to come.  The President has created a branch of the government called the “Federal Bureau of Reformation” and they now have “Moral Statues” that the people must follow.  If you are found in violation you are taken to trial and almost always you do not come back.

Ember’s mother is arrested under “Article 5” of the statues, having a child out of wedlock by which the child is not considered a valid citizen and becomes government property.  Changes to the article have moved her mother into this group since it now states if you are unmarried and have any children under 18 you are in violation regardless if you were married at the time they were born.  Ember is taken to a girls’ reformatory and rehabilitation center under the care of the “Sisters of Salvation” or as I like to refer to them “Spawns of Satan”—same initials. 🙂  She is treated horribly as soon as she gets there . . . but what really confused me was her naïve attitude at that point.  Obviously if you have moral police running around and they are hurting people they aren’t exactly on your side nor do they care if you think something is fair.  She openly tries to get away endangering others, talk back, etc as if this is the world she hasn’t been living in for three years; to me she should have known better.

After Ember’s failed attempt to escape her old neighbor/pseudo ex-boyfriend Chase, who is a member of the FBR, breaks her out.  After their escape most of the book centers around Chase trying to get Ember to a safe house to find her mother who has been released.  Mixed in with their travel there are several flashbacks were you see Chase and Ember before he joined the FBR so there is enough tension to make you want to find out what is going to happen.

For a debut book this was fantastic!  I was sucked in right way and I highly recommend you don’t make the same mistake I did and try to start this one on your lunch break.  When I realized I was going to have to stop reading?!  I was severely tempted to leave sick. (I swear I didn’t, I made it through the day and finished when I got home . . .  barely.   :P) I would have given this a solid five but Ember was really annoying and extremely selfish for a good bit of the book.  She came around in the end though so I’m not taking much off for that.  I really liked how the book ended, can’t wait to see where the story goes!



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