By Kristen Simmons
Tor Teen, 2012. 364 pgs. Young Adult
After the War, the Federal Bureau of Reformation started cracking down on people who are violating the moral statutes of the country, which includes Article 5: "Children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife." Even though she was born years before the statutes went into effect, suddenly Ember, the daughter of a single mother, Ember is taken to a reformatory and her mother is taken to prison. Being separated from her mother is bad enough, but Chase Jennings, her former boyfriend, is one of the arresting officers. Despite his betrayal, though, Ember will do anything to get back to her mother--even if it means trusting Chase.
This book has a good premise; it has pretty good action and characters. I think there are a lot of things that I think teen readers will enjoy. It's an interesting dystopia. However, the writing was awkward; so many times it seemed like the author spent more time paging through a thesaurus for obscure synonyms rather than just using a word that teenagers would really use. The word choice crossed over into the ridiculous, and I wish the editor had pushed for more realistic language. I found it be very jarring and it kept distracting me from the story. Again, a lot of teens will probably love it; I tolerated it.. I liked the characters enough and the romance angle, but the writing bugged me enough that I found myself hoping that it wouldn't be made into a series because I don't know if I could sit through another book.