The Maze Runner
By James Dashner
Delacorte Press, 2009. 375 pgs. Young Adult
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark.
Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift, so the Gladers were expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up - the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. More surprising yet is the message she delivers. And something about her arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers - if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.
This is the first in a trilogy, and was quite a page-turner. I was hungry for more as each part of the story unfolded, and as soon as one secret was revealed I was eager for the next. I kept wondering if this book was going to turn into something like Lord of the Flies, but it wasn't as dark as that. I think fans of The Hunger Games will really enjoy this, though I did see some mixed reviews. The most common complaint was about weak characters, but I never noticed. I think readers who like to experience different worlds or alternate realities and adventure in their reading will get the most out of this book. I'd say books similar to this are: The Hunger Games, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Ender's Game, and Unwind.