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Article 5

Article 5

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Article 5

4/5 (56 évaluations)
370 pages
5 heures
Jan 31, 2012


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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Jan 31, 2012

À propos de l'auteur

KRISTEN SIMMONS is the award-nominated author of the Article 5 series, The Glass Arrow, Metaltown, Pacifica, The Deceivers, and co-author of Set Fire to the Gods. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, son, and a pack of semi-wild dogs.

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Article 5 - Kristen Simmons




BETH and Ryan were holding hands. It was enough to risk a formal citation for indecency, and they knew better, but I didn’t say anything. Curfew rounds wouldn’t begin for another two hours, and freedom was stolen in moments like these.

Slow down, Ember, Ryan called.

Instead I walked faster, pulling away from our pack.

Leave her alone, I heard Beth whisper. My face heated as I realized how I must look: not like a conscientious friend who was minding her own business, but like a bitter third wheel who couldn’t stand seeing other couples happy. Which wasn’t true—mostly.

Sheepishly, I fell into step beside Beth.

My best friend was tall for a girl, with an explosion of dark freckles centered at her nose and a cap of squiggly red hair that was untamable on chilly days like this one. She traded Ryan’s arm for mine—which, if I was honest, did make me feel a little safer—and without a word, we danced on our tiptoes around the massive cracks in the sidewalk, just like we’d done since the fourth grade.

When the concrete path succumbed to gravel, I raised the front of my too-long khaki skirt so the hem didn’t drag in the dust. I hated this skirt. The matching button-up top was so boxy and stiff that it made even busty Beth look flat as an ironing board. School uniforms were part of President Scarboro’s new Moral Statute—one of many that had taken effect after the War—mandating that appearances comply with gender roles. I didn’t know what gender they’d been aiming for with this outfit. Clearly it wasn’t female.

We stopped at the gas station on the corner out of habit. Though it was the only one in the county still open, the lot was empty. Not many people could afford cars anymore.

We never went inside. There would be snacks and candy bars on the racks, all priced ten times higher than they’d been last year, and we didn’t have any money. We stayed where we were welcome—on the outside. Three feet removed from the hundreds of tiny faces imprisoned behind the tinted glass. The board read:


Silently, we scanned the photographs of the foster-care runaways and escaped criminals for anyone we might know, checking for one picture in particular. Katelyn Meadows. A girl with auburn hair and a perky smile, who’d been in my junior history class last year. Mrs. Matthews had just told her she’d gotten the highest grade in the class on her midterm when the soldiers had arrived to take her to trial. Article 1 violation, they’d said. Noncompliance with the national religion. It wasn’t as if she’d been caught worshipping the devil; she’d missed school for Passover, and it had gone on to the school board as an unauthorized absence.

That was the last time anyone had seen her.

The next week Mrs. Matthews had been forced to take the Bill of Rights out of the curriculum. There was no discussion permitted on the topic. The soldiers posted at the door and at the recruiting table in the cafeteria made sure of that.

Two months after Katelyn’s trial, her family had moved away. Her phone number had been disconnected. It was as if she’d never existed.

Katelyn and I hadn’t been friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her; I thought she was all right, actually. We always said hi, if not much more. But since her sudden disappearance, something dark had kindled inside of me. I’d been more on guard. As compliant with the Statutes as possible. I didn’t like to sit in the front row of class anymore, and I never walked home from school alone.

I couldn’t be taken. I had to look out for my mother.

I finished my review. No Katelyn Meadows. Not this week.

Did you hear about Mary What’s-her-name? Beth asked as we resumed our walk to my house. She’s a sophomore I think.

Let’s see, Mary What’s-her-name, said Ryan pensively, pushing the glasses up his sharp nose. His uniform jacket made him look studious, whereas the other guys at school always looked like their mothers had dressed them up for Easter Sunday.

No. What happened to her? A chill tickled my skin.

Same thing as Katelyn. Moral Militia came to take her to trial, and no one’s seen her in a week. Beth’s voice lowered, as it did when she suspected someone might be listening.

My stomach sank. They weren’t actually called the Moral Militia, but they might as well have been. The uniformed soldiers actually belonged to the Federal Bureau of Reformation—the branch of the military the president had created at the end of the War three years ago. Their purpose was to enforce compliance with the Moral Statutes, to halt the chaos that had reigned during the five years that America had been mercilessly attacked. The hammer had come down hard: Any violation against the Statutes led to a citation, and in the worst cases, resulted in a trial before the FBR Board. People who went to trial—like Katelyn—didn’t usually come back.

There were all sorts of theories. Prison. Deportation. A few months ago I’d heard a crazy homeless man spouting off about mass executions, before he’d been carted away. Regardless of the rumors, reality was bleak. With each new Statute issued, the MM became more powerful, more self-righteous. Hence the nickname.

They took a freshman from gym, too, said Ryan soberly. I heard they didn’t even let him change back into his uniform.

First Katelyn Meadows, now Mary Something and another boy. And Mary and the boy within the last two weeks. I remembered when school had been safe—the only place we didn’t have to think about the War. Now kids never ditched. There weren’t any fights. People even turned in their homework on time. Everyone was scared their teacher would report them to the MM.

As we turned up my empty driveway, I glanced next door. The boxy house’s white paneling was stained by dust and rain. The bushes had overgrown so much that they connected over the concrete steps. Long, fragile cobwebs sagged from the overhang. It looked haunted. In a way, it was.

That had been his house. The house of the boy I loved.

Deliberately, I looked away and climbed our front porch stairs to let my friends inside.

My mother was sitting on the couch. She had at least four too many clips in her hair and was wearing a shirt that she’d stolen from my closet. I didn’t mind. The truth was I wasn’t much into clothes. Sorting through a collection of worn hand-me-downs at a donation center hadn’t exactly cultivated my desire to shop.

What I did mind was that she was reading a paperback with a half-naked pirate on the cover. That stuff was illegal now. She’d probably gotten it from someone she volunteered with at the soup kitchen. The place was chock-full of unemployed women spreading their passive-aggressive contraband beneath the Moral Militia’s nose.

Hi, baby. Hi, kids, my mother said, hardly moving. She didn’t look up until she finished reading her page, then she jammed a bookmark in place and stood. I kept my mouth shut about the book, even though I probably should have told her not to bring that stuff home. It obviously made her happy, and it was better than her reading it on the porch, like she sometimes did when feeling particularly mutinous.

Hi, Mom.

She kissed me noisily on the cheek, then hugged my friends at the same time before releasing us to our homework.

We pulled out our big heavy books and began deciphering the mechanical world of precalculus. It was horrid work—I detested math—but Beth and I had made a pact not to drop. Rumor was, next year, girls weren’t even going to be able to take math anymore, so we suffered through in silent rebellion.

Smiling sympathetically at my expression, my mother patted my head and offered to make us all hot chocolate. After a few minutes of frustration, I followed her into the kitchen. She’d forgotten to water her ficus plant again, and it drooped pitifully. I filled a glass from the sink and poured it into the pot.

Bad day? she ventured. She spooned the chocolate powder into four mugs from a blue canister with a picture of a sunrise on the front. Horizons brand food was government owned, and all we could get with our meal rations.

I leaned against the counter and scuffed my heel against the floor, still thinking about the two new abductees, the contraband. The empty house next door.

I’m fine, I lied. I didn’t want to scare her by telling her about Mary Something, and I still didn’t want to rag her about the book. She hated when I got on her back about the rules. She could be sort of reactive sometimes.

How was work? I changed the subject. She didn’t get paid at the soup kitchen, but we still called it work. It made her feel better.

She didn’t miss my obvious avoidance, but she let it drop and launched into a full story about Misty Something dating Kelly Something’s boyfriend from high school, and … I didn’t bother keeping up. I just nodded and soon was smiling. Her enthusiasm was infectious. By the time the teakettle whistled, I felt much better.

She was reaching for the mugs when someone knocked on the door. I went to answer it, thinking that it was probably Mrs. Crowley from across the street, stopping by to visit my mother like she did every day.

Ember, wait— The fear in Beth’s voice made me stop and turn back toward the living room. She was kneeling on the couch, her hand on the curtain. The color had drained from her already-fair complexion.

But it was too late. My mom unlatched the dead bolt and opened the door.

Two Moral Militia soldiers stood on our front steps.

They were in full uniform: navy blue flak jackets with large wooden buttons, and matching pants that bloused into shiny boots. The most recognized insignia in the country, the American flag flying over a cross, was painted on their breast pockets, just above the initials FBR. Each of them had a standard-issue black baton, a radio, and a gun on his belt.

One of the soldiers had short brown hair that grayed around his temples, and wrinkles around the corners of his mouth that made him appear too old for his age. His narrow companion brushed at his tawny mustache impatiently.

I sagged in disappointment. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had hoped that one of them was him. It was a fleeting moment of weakness whenever I saw a uniform, and I kicked myself for it.

Ms. Lori Whittman? The first soldier asked, without looking her in the face.

Yes, my mother replied slowly.

I need to see some ID. He didn’t bother to introduce himself, but his name tag read BATEMAN. The other was CONNER.

Is there a problem? There was a snarky tinge to her tone, one I hoped they didn’t pick up on. Beth came up close behind me, and I could feel Ryan beside her.

Just get your ID, ma’am, Bateman said irritably.

My mother pulled away from the door without inviting them in. I blocked the threshold, trying not to look as small as I felt. I could not let them search the house; we had too much contraband out to avoid a citation. I tilted my head subtly to Beth, and she meandered back to the couch, stuffing the romance novel my mother had been reading beneath the cushions. My mind raced through the other things she had: more inappropriate paperbacks, old magazines from before the War, a home manicure kit. I’d even heard that my favorite book, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, had made the list, and I knew that was right on top of my nightstand. We weren’t scheduled for an inspection tonight; we’d just had one last month. Everything had been left out.

A burning ignited in my chest, like the flicker of a lighter. And then I could hear my heart, thudding against my ribs. It startled me. A long time had passed since I’d been aware of that feeling.

Bateman tried to look past me, but I blocked his view. His brow lifted in judgment, and my blood boiled. Over the past year the MM’s presence in Louisville—and all the remaining U.S. cities—had increased tenfold. It seemed there wasn’t enough for them to do; harassing citizens appeared to be a high priority. I stuffed down the resentment and tried to stay composed. It was unwise to be impolite to the MM.

There were two cars parked on the street, a blue van and a smaller car that looked like an old police cruiser. On the side of each was the FBR emblem. I didn’t need to read the motto below to know what it said: One Whole Country, One Whole Family. It always gave me a little jolt of inadequacy, like my little two-person family wasn’t whole enough.

There was someone in the driver’s seat of the van, and another soldier outside on the sidewalk in front of our house. As I watched, the back of the van opened and two more soldiers hopped out onto the street.

Something was wrong. There were too many soldiers here just to fine us for violating a Statute.

My mom returned to the door, digging through her purse. Her face was flushed. I stepped shoulder to shoulder with her and forced my breath to steady.

She found her wallet and pulled out her ID. Bateman checked it quickly before stuffing it into the front pocket of his shirt. Conner lifted a paper I hadn’t seen him holding, ripped off the sticky backing, and slapped it against our front door.

The Moral Statutes.

Hey, I heard myself say. What are you—

Lori Whittman, you are under arrest for violation of the Moral Statutes, Section 2, Article 5, Part A revised, pertaining to children conceived out of wedlock.

Arrest? My mom’s voice hitched. What do you mean?

My mind flashed through the rumors I’d heard about sending people to prison for Statute violations, and I realized with a sick sense of dread that these weren’t rumors at all. It was Katelyn Meadows all over again.

Article 5! Ryan blurted from behind us. "How could that apply to them?"

The current version was revised on February twenty-fourth. It includes all dependent children under the age of eighteen.

February twenty-fourth? That was only Monday! Beth said sharply.

Conner reached across the threshold of our home and grabbed my mother’s shoulder, pulling her forward. Instinctively, I wrapped both hands around his forearm.

Let go, miss, he said curtly. He looked at me for the first time, but his eyes were strange, as if they didn’t register that I was present. I loosened my hold but did not release his arm.

"What do you mean ‘arrest’?" My mother was still trying to process.

It’s quite clear, Ms. Whittman. Bateman’s tone was condescending. You are out of compliance with the Moral Statutes and will be tried by a senior officer of the Federal Bureau of Reformation.

I struggled against Conner’s firm hold on her shoulder. He was pulling us outside. I asked him to stop, but he ignored me.

Bateman restrained my mother’s opposite shoulder, dragging her down the steps. Conner released her arm for a moment to jerk me aside, and with a stunted cry, I fell. The grass was cold and damp and soaked through my skirt at the hip, but the blood burned in my face and neck. Beth ran to my side.

What’s going on here? I glanced up and saw Mrs. Crowley, our neighbor, wrapped in a shawl and wearing sweatpants. Lori! Are you all right, Lori? Ember!

I sprang to my feet. My eyes shot to the soldier who had been waiting outside. He had an athletic build and gelled blond hair, neatly parted on the side. His tongue slid over his teeth beneath pursed lips, reminding me of the way sand shifts when a snake slithers beneath it.

He was walking straight toward me.

No! The breath scraped my throat. I fought the urge to run.

Don’t touch me! my mother shrieked at Bateman.

Ms. Whittman, don’t make this harder than it has to be, responded Bateman. My stomach pitched at the apathy in his voice.

Get the hell off my property, my mother demanded, fury stabbing through her fear. We’re not animals; we’re people! We have rights! You’re old enough to remember—–

Mom! I interrupted. She was just going to make it worse. Officer, this isn’t right. This is a mistake. My voice sounded far away.

There’s no mistake, Ms. Miller. Your records have already been reviewed for noncompliance, said Morris, the soldier before me. His green eyes flashed. He was getting too close.

In a split second, his vicelike fists shot out and trapped both my wrists. I bucked against him, retracting my arms in an attempt to shake him loose. He was stronger and jerked me close, so that our bodies slapped together. The breath was squashed from my lungs.

For a second I saw the hint of a smirk cross his face. His hands, cuffing my fists, slipped behind my lower back and drew me in tighter. Every part of me went rigid.

A warning screamed in my head. I tried to get away, but this seemed to drive new excitement into him. He was actually enjoying this. His hard grip was making my hands prickle with numbness.

Somewhere in the street I heard a car door slam.

Stop, I managed.

Let go! Beth shouted at him.

Conner and Bateman pulled my mother away. Morris’s hands were still on my wrists. I heard nothing over the ringing in my ears.

And then I saw him.

His hair was black and gleaming in the last splinters of sunlight. It was short now, cleanly cut like the other soldiers’, and his eyes, sharp as a wolf’s, were so dark I could barely see the pupils. JENNINGS was spelled out in perfect gold letters over the breast of his pressed uniform. I had never in my life seen him look so grave. He was nearly unrecognizable.

My heart was beating quickly, fearfully, but beating all the same. Just because he was near. My body had sensed him before my mind had.

Chase? I asked.

I thought of many things all at the same time. I wanted to run to him despite everything. I wanted him to hold me as he had the night before he’d left. But the pain of his absence returned fast, and reality sliced at my insides.

He’d chosen this over me.

I grasped on to the hope that maybe he could help us.

Chase said nothing. His jaw was bulging, as though he was grinding his teeth, but otherwise his face revealed no emotion, no indication that the home he’d been raised in was twenty feet away. He stood between where Morris held me and the van. It occurred to me that he was the driver.

Don’t forget why you’re here, Bateman snapped at him.

Chase, tell them they’re wrong. I looked straight at him.

He didn’t look at me. He didn’t even move.

Enough. Get back in the van, Jennings! ordered Bateman.

Chase! I shouted. I felt my face twist with confusion. Was he really going to ignore me?

Don’t speak to him, Bateman snapped at me. "Will someone please do something with this girl?"

My terror grew, closing off the world around me. Chase’s presence didn’t soothe me as it had in the past. The mouth that had once curved into a smile and softened against my lips was a hard, grim line. There was no warmth in him now. This was not the Chase I remembered. This wasn’t my Chase.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of his face. The pain in my chest nearly doubled me over.

Morris jerked me up, and instinct tore through me. I reared back, breaking free from his grasp, and wrapped my arms around my mother’s shoulders. Someone yanked me back. My grip was slipping. They were pulling her away from me.

NO! I screamed.

Let go of her! I heard a soldier bark. Or we’ll take you, too, Red.

Beth’s fists, which had knotted in my school uniform, were torn from my clothing. Through tear-filled eyes I saw that Ryan had restrained her, his face contorted with guilt. Beth was crying, reaching out for me. I didn’t let go of my mother.

Okay, okay, I heard my mother say. Her words came out very fast. "Please, officer, please let us go. We can talk right here."

A sob broke from my throat. I couldn’t stand the obedience in her tone. She was so afraid. They were trying to separate us again, and I knew, more than anything else, that I could not let them do that.

"Be gentle with them, please! Please!" Mrs. Crowley begged.

In one heave, Morris ripped me from my mother. Enraged, I swiped at his face. My nails caught the thin skin of his neck, and he swore loudly.

I saw the world through a crimson veil. I wanted him to attack me just so I could lash out at him again.

His green eyes were beady in anger, and he snarled as he jerked the nightstick from his hip. In a flash it was swinging back above his head.

I braced my arms defensively over my face.

STOP! My mother’s pitch was strident. I could hear it above the screaming adrenaline in my ears.

Someone pushed me, and I was flung hard to the ground, my hair covering my face, blocking my vision. There was a stinging in my chest that stole the breath from my lungs. I crawled back to my knees.

Jennings! I heard Bateman shout. Your CO will hear about this!

Chase was standing in front of me, blocking my view.

Don’t hurt him! I panted. Morris’s weapon was still ready to strike, though now it was aimed at Chase.

You don’t need that. Chase’s voice was very low. Morris lowered the stick.

You said you’d be cool, he hissed, glaring at Chase.

Had Chase told this soldier—Morris—about me? Were they friends? How could he be friends with someone like that?

Chase said nothing. He didn’t move.

Stand down, Jennings, Bateman commanded.

I scrambled up and glared at the man in charge. Who the hell do you think you are?

Watch your mouth, snapped Bateman. You’ve already struck a soldier. How much deeper a hole are you looking to dig?

I could hear my mother arguing through her hiccuping sobs. When they began to move her toward the van again, I lunged forward, my hands tangling in Chase’s uniform. Desperation blanketed me. They were going to take her away.

Chase, please, I begged. "Please tell them this is a mistake. Tell them we’re good people. You know us. You know me."

He shook me off as though some disgusting thing had touched him. That stung more than anything could in this moment. I stared at him in shock.

The defeat was devastating.

My arms were pulled behind me and latched into place by Morris’s strong grip. I didn’t care. I couldn’t even feel them.

Chase stepped away from me. Bateman and Conner ushered my mother to the van. She looked over her shoulder at me with scared eyes.

It’s okay, baby, she called, trying to sound confident. I’ll find out who’s responsible for this, and we’ll have a nice long chat.

My gut twisted at the prospect.

She doesn’t even have her shoes on! I shouted at the soldiers.

There were no more words as they loaded my mother in the back of the van. When she disappeared inside, I felt something tear within me, loosing what felt like acid into my chest. It scalded my insides. It made my breath come faster, made my throat burn and my lungs clench.

Walk to the car, Morris ordered.

What? No! Beth cried. You can’t take her!

What are you doing? Ryan demanded.

Ms. Miller is being taken into custody by the federal government in accordance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. She’s going into rehabilitation.

I was getting very tired all of a sudden. My thoughts weren’t making sense. Blurry lines formed around my vision, but I couldn’t blink them back. I gulped down air, but there wasn’t enough.

Don’t fight me, Ember, Chase ordered quietly. My heart broke to hear him say my name.

Why are you doing this? The sound of my voice was distant and weak. He didn’t answer me. I didn’t expect an answer anyway.

They led me to the car, parked behind the van. Chase opened the door to the backseat and sat me down roughly. I fell to my side, feeling the leather dampen from my tears.

Then Chase was gone. And though my heart quieted, the pain in my chest remained. It stole my breath and swallowed me whole, and I tumbled into darkness.



MOM, I’m home! I kicked off my flats at the front door and proceeded straight down the hallway to the kitchen, where I heard her laughing.

Ember, there you are! Look who’s back! My mother was standing at the stove, beaming like she’d just gotten me a shiny new toy. Skeptical, I rounded the corner and stopped cold.

Chase Jennings was in my kitchen.

Chase Jennings, who I’d played tag with and raced bikes with and had a crush on since before I knew what crushes were.

Chase Jennings, who had grown into a rough-around-the-edges kind of handsome; tall and built and so much more dangerous than the scrawny fourteen-year-old I’d last seen. He was leaning back casually in his chair, hands in his denim pockets, a mess of black hair stuffed beneath an old baseball cap.

I was staring. I looked away quickly, feeling the flush rise in my cheeks.

Um … hi.

Hey, Ember, he said easily. You grew up.

*   *   *

MY eyes blinked open as the FBR cruiser shuddered to a stop. Slowly, I sat up, head heavy and clouded, and pushed the hair from my face.

Where was I?

Night had descended, and the darkness aided my disorientation. I rubbed my eyes, catching a glimpse of the blond soldier’s profile through the thick glass partition between the front seats and the back. Morris. I remembered his name badge. I looked out the front windshield, distorted by the barricade. With a jolt of panic, I realized I was searching for a van. One that was no longer in front of us.

Then I remembered.

The MM. The arrest. Chase.

Where was my mother? I should have been watching! I banged on the glass divider, but Morris and the driver didn’t even flinch. It was soundproof. Frightened now, I crossed my arms over my chest and eased back into the leather seat, trying to gain a lock on my bearings.

Without a car or a television, we’d been isolated in our neighborhood. The FBR had shut down the local newspaper on account of the scarcity of resources, and had blocked the Internet to stifle rebellion, so we couldn’t even see pictures of how our town had changed. We knew Louisville had been relatively lucky during the War. No bombed buildings. No evacuated areas. But even if it didn’t look damaged, it did look

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56 évaluations / 44 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (3/5)
    A futuristic view of an American controlled by an oppressive government published by Tor Teen for young adults. A dystopian story of survival. Terrifying. Gripping. Heartbreaking. Could not put down.
  • (2/5)
    More like 2 1/2 stars for me. I probably wouldn't have finished this book if not for the fact that i out it on my classroom Kindle. I really was not that fond of the characters and have read much better dystopian books. It wasn't terrible but the story was constantly pulling me out of the flow when the characters did something not so smart.

  • (4/5)
    4.5 stars. I would have given it 5 but I just couldn't. Let me tell you why...

    The story was great, the writing well done, and the concept extremely interesting. I liked the characters and saw how they grew, but the main character, Ember, annoyed me half the time. I may be old, but I do remember the rashness of youth, but even that doesn't explain some of the stupid decisions Ember makes. It was annoying.

    That was one reason I couldn't give Article 5 a 5 star review. The other reason was the lack of explanation regarding the world. The author never fully explains WHY people live as they do or what exactly happened. It's hinted at, skimmed over, somewhat, but I'm still in the dark. I kept wanting more backstory about the world and less memories about Ember and Chase.

    I also wanted more information about the mom. There was no hint about her lifestyle or about why article 5 would relate to them until the 'incident' (hope I'm not giving spoilers). I liked how the book jumped immediately into action, yet more information throughout would have been nice.

    Still, Ms. Simmons did a great job with and interesting concept and I hope she goes into more detailing in the following books (the end was obviously set up for more books). I'll definitely read them.
  • (4/5)
    This book was brilliant! Perfectly paced, I couldn't put it down. Definitely recommend if you're in the mood for some Katnis Everdeen type main character.
  • (5/5)
    I really love your story, it deserves a lot of audience. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top
  • (5/5)
    Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

    You know what's awesome? When a book totally grips you from the beginning to the end. There was seriously not a moment of Article 5 where I was not totally into the story. Kristen Simmons definitely had me right where she wanted me. Article 5 has tons of action, as well as world building that I can totally get behind AND a rocking heroine. Hell to the yes.

    Article 5 falls into the vein of dystopias that clearly stem from our modern society. The direct correlation to forces at play in current politics makes this a great read-a-like for Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. In Simmons' horrific future, the fundamentalists have taken over, after various factors caused problems. The country is policed by the FBR, also known as the MM (Moral Militia). Women are being forced back into a subservient role: wives and mothers. There is talk of no longer allowing women to take math, for example, because what use is that to ladies? Women must wear appropriate clothing. All sorts of reading materials (ex. romance novels) and actions (ex. doing anything romantic outside of marriage) are prohibited.

    Even more horrifying, the military now has such power that trials for crimes are becoming a thing of the past. Even if a trial is planned, nobody looks to closely if a 'criminal' dies in an 'escape attempt' or something of that sort. Not only that, but you can now be held responsible for something done years before. Take, for example, our heroine's mother, arrested at the beginning of the book for having a child out of wedlock. Note that the child she had is 17 year old Ember. The law didn't exist when Ember was born, but it's written now, so off to jail you go.

    Ember was a wonderful heroine. She has so much personality and I really felt like I knew her. Told in the first person from her perspective, I just loved the way Ember thought and phrased things. She has a sarcastic and occasionally off-the-wall humor that I really appreciate. I thought the storytelling was effective, and that, though I knew Ember best, I did get a hint of depths to some of the other more minor characters.

    What I really love about Ember as a heroine is how ordinary she is. Now, she is cleverer than average and definitely braver, but she has no special physical skills or powers to aid her in her quest to save her mother from prison. Despite that, Ember is a force to be reckoned with. She fights back, even when that is really not the advisable action. Ember cannot NOT act when someone does something to her. She does not take abuse quietly. She stands up for herself first and foremost, and sometimes or others. The selfishness underlying most of her actions I really liked too, because, let's be honest, that's how she's going to have a chance of surviving.

    Plus, her personality made the romance stand out from the ordinary YA relationships. Though on the surface, we have an obvious match with Chase and Ember, childhood sweethearts torn apart by his induction into the MM. Whereas most YA heroines when reunited with the strong, tall, gorgeous Chase would forgive him his trespasses and do whatever he asked, like good girls do, Ember does not trust him at all. Any trust he gets from her has to be EARNED. She knows well that just because she loved him before does not mean he is the same person now.

    Chase and Ember's relationship appeals so much more to me because of the realistic way in which she views it. Though she's drawn to him, she can resist him. She can think logically in the face of his presence. She can use him to get what she needs. She listens to him when it's in her benefit, but also will disobey his orders if she feels that necessary. Despite his training and strength, she always does what she can to fight and comes up with great ideas, rather than expecting him to protect her.

    Article 5 is chock full of action, awesome characters, sassy writing and a horrifying dystopian society that I dearly hope never comes to pass. Book two, Breaking Point, should probably make its way to my hands immediately; I want it like BURNING.
  • (2/5)
    Originally posted at The Wandering Fangirl.With so many rave reviews on Goodreads, I was looking forward to Article 5, but uuugghhhh it fell totally flat for me. It was an easy read, one I did it two short sittings, but I didn't particularly enjoy it. When creating a dystopia like the one in Article 5, you need to at least have some sort of explanation. "The was a war and there's an overly-religious government in place and btw this happened only a few years ago" does not a good dystopia make. On top of that, Ember, our main character, was so hard for me to like. She seemed so naive and stupid, and if she was written that way because she was totally sheltered her whole life, cool. If not, well. Ember's constant questioning of Chase, her former love and rescuer, drove me up a wall. So did their lack of communication, angst and constant second guessing what each other said because they were both so hurt by the other. Too much drama, man.
  • (4/5)
    Ember is an interesting character. The world she lives in is so messed up and backwards that it amazes me that she was able to survive for so long before the events of this book transpired.

    When her mother and her are taken and it makes no sense, she is always thinking about her plan to get back to her mother and be free. It is all she thinks about. Chase and her band together to get to safety with a lot of different obstacles along the way. The government, other civilians, and even each other cause problems throughout the story.

    I love the flashbacks in the book about Chase and Ember’s relationship before everything changed. They really shed some light on what happened between them before he became a solider. But at the same time, these two characters are beyond frustrating. As soon as they start patching things up, one of them has to go and destroy all that progress. They can just be so stupid sometimes.

    Overall, this was an action packed book with many twists and turns along the way. I really enjoyed the backwards world that Simmons has created.
  • (4/5)

    There were no more words as they loaded my mother in the back of the van. When she disappeared inside, I felt something tear within me, loosing what felt like acid into my chest. It scalded my insides. It made my breath come faster, made my throat burn.
    -from the book

    Ember Miller is a high school student. She goes to school, hangs out with her friends. She doesn't realize how much the world around her has changed since the war. Oh, she knows about President Scarboro and his Moral Statutes, but she thinks she and her mom are safe. The Federal Bureau of Reformation's (FBR) soldiers are in charge of enforcing compliance with the Moral Statutes. Ember and her friends refer to them as the MM (Moral Militia). Violators of the statutes disappear but most people have no idea where they go. Ember is about to find out. A revision of Article 5, pertains to children conceived out of wedlock and Ember and her mother are both found in violation and taken prisoner. Ember is sent to a rehabilitation facility and her mom is sent....? Ember doesn't know where her mom is, but she is determined to find her.

    This is a great dystopian adventure. Ember is naive and has some issues but she is basically likable. Chase is hard to figure out, but from the beginning we have a feeling, as readers, that there is more to him than Ember thinks. Ember and Chase have a troubled relationship but they aren't in the best situation either. Being a soldier in the Moral Militia doesn't help his case.

    I'm enjoying this series and am already on the third book. The books are fun, easy to read and hard to put down. Oh and no love triangle. :)

    Recommended to:
    Young adult and adult fans of dystopian fiction.
  • (4/5)
    I think this book is awesome because of how realistic it could be. The new rights and rules being forced upon the people restrict their freedoms and choices. The government takes so much control that if your family doesn't consist of a man and a women, you have a child out of wedlock, have a book that is on the banned list, or do something as simple as miss school for a religious holiday it can result in being sentenced to jail or worse. Since the police and people in charge have basically been replaced by the military you can only imagine the kind of punishments they could implement. Naturally, whenever there is an oppressive government there are also insurgents. So watching these character's go from being compliant to being against the government, but not quite insurgents, is great. It shows how all it takes is one final push to send someone off the edge.
  • (2/5)
    When Ember's mother is arrested for noncompliance with the moral statutes, Ember is sent off to a camp/institute. In comes Chase, a boy from her childhood to rescue her.I really did not like this book. I thought Ember was self-righteous, close minded and just plain annoying. She constantly worried about others taking lives, which seemed very hypocritical and out of place in a post-apocalyptic world. Overall, a bust.
  • (3/5)
    I liked the premise. But found myself putting this down as the relationship between the two main characters grew tedious-does she hate him or love him on this page? However, it finished strong. Worth the time if you are a dystopian fan.
  • (1/5)
    could not get into the characters. Most of the action felt forced as though it was needed to keep the story from being plain boring. I was not impressed with the lack of development for good vs. evil. I almost feel as though this story tried to jump on the bandwagon of dystopia and just fell flat in the dirt.
  • (3/5)
    This is along the lines of Delirium and Hunger Games where the government has control of everything and tells its citizens what to think and how to behave. I enjoyed this, but it didn't feel "complete" in an emotional sense for me. I know it is a trilogy, so I'm hoping to get to that end goal by the last book.
  • (2/5)
    Nope. Couldn't make myself download it after the sample. The premise sounded interesting, but it was like reading something a teenager wrote. Bleh.
  • (1/5)
    Diese und weitere Rezensionen findet ihr auf meinem Blog Anima Libri - Buchseele

    Die Moralstatuten der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika

    Artikel 1
    Die Vereinigten Staaten erkennen die Amerikanische Kirche als offizielle Religion an.

    Artikel 2
    Literatur und andere unmoralische Medien sind verboten. Ihr Besitz, Erwerb und Verkauf ist strengstens untersagt.

    Artikel 3
    Eine vollständige Familie besteht aus einem Mann, einer Frau und mindestens einem Kind.

    Artikel 4
    Die traditionellen Geschlechterrollen müssen eingehalten werden.

    Artikel 5
    Als vollwertiger Staatsbürger wird nur anerkannt, wer als Kind eines verheirateten Paares auf die Welt kommt.

    Klingt das nicht spannend und nach einer wirklich guten Voraussetzung für eine gelungene Dystopie? Besonders wenn man dazu dann die Ausgangssituation des Buchs nimmt, nämlich, dass die 17-jährige Ember und ihre Mutter Artikel 5 zum Opfer fallen, die Mutter verschleppt wird und Ember in eine Besserungsanstalt kommt. Und soweit ist es auch tatsächlich verdammt spannend. Bis Ember dann beschließt, dass sie mit der Hilfe ihrer großen Liebe, Chase, dem Mann, der ihre Mutter verhaftet hat, fliehen und ihre Mutter retten muss. Von da an geht die Geschichte einfach nur noch den Bach runter.

    Denn spannend ist anders. Gut konstruiert ist ebenfalls anders und auch sonst ist wenig an dieser Geschichte noch realistisch oder eben logisch.

    1. Die Welt: Wir befinden uns in einer zukünftigen Version der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, die, gezeichnet von Kriegen, nun einer fanatischen moralisch-religiösen Diktatur unterstehen. Leider merkt man davon in diesem Buch einfach so gar nichts. Man erfährt, einmal abgesehen von den aller grundlegendsten Informationen, z.B. den oben genannten “Moralstatuten”, quasi überhaupt nichts über diese Gesellschaft, was ich unglaublich schade finde, da ich mich auf den ersten Seiten so sehr über diese Welt gefreut habe, da sie einfach eine unglaublich spannende und faszinierende Perspektive bietet. Oder wohl eher bieten könnte, denn genutzt wird das Potential dieses Settings hier nicht einmal ansatzweise.

    2. Die Protagonistin: Um Gottes Willen… Nicht nur ist Ember absolut unverzeihlich naiv, etwas was für einen Menschen in ihrer Situation eigentlich gar nicht möglich sein sollte, nein, sie wirkte auf mich auch völlig hohl, um es mal so zu sagen. Im Grunde genommen kann sie sich nur Sorgen machen. Und zwar um zwei bzw. drei Dinge: Zum einen ihre Mutter, die zu Beginn die treibende Kraft hinter ihren Handlungen ist, wobei Embers Motivation dabei genauso wenig überzeugend wirkte, wie sonst irgendwelche ihrer Emotionen. Und das zweite: Chase! Zum einen ist sie völlig unfähig, sich auch nur ansatzweise auf ein Gespräch mit ihm einzulassen und scheint hinter allem eine Gefahr für ihre sexuelle Integrität zu vermuten, sodass die beiden bis zur letzten Seite nicht eine einzige wirkliche Unterhaltung führen. Und außerdem stellt sie die gesamte Zeit über den Fakt in Frage, ob sie Chase vertrauen kann. Nicht, dass der Kerl ihr im Laufe der Geschichte mehrfach das Leben rettet oder sie ohne ihn schon längst verloren gewesen wäre, nein, warum also sollte sie ihm vertrauen?

    3. Die Handlung: Wie man aus den ersten beiden Punkten, gerade dem zweiten, vielleicht schon ableiten kann, ist hier keine allzu beachtliche Handlung vorhanden. Im Grunde genommen besteht die gesamte Handlung daraus, dass Ember sich völlig unnötig, und meist auch unsinnig, in irgendwelche Gefahren bringt und Chase sie rettet. Viel mehr passiert das gesamte Buch über nicht und da Embers Handlungen bestenfalls unberechenbar sind, macht das ganze auch herzlich wenig Spaß, von Spannung ganz zu schweigen.

    Alles in allem kann ich zu „Artikel 5“ nur sagen, dass es für mich eine einzige, riesengroße Enttäuschung war, bei der, abgesehen von der absoluten Grundidee, so gar nichts passt.
  • (2/5)
    I'm getting sick of reading mediocre dystopian novels ruined by sappy romance. All in all, that's all this book is about. Teenagers madly in love. When and why did this become trope for this genre?Basic idea is its pretty soon after some sort of War and the world as collapsed. To keep order, the government has instituted rules known as Articles that everyone must follow or face punishment. The Articles are things like Christianity is the one and only religion acceptable, families are considered one man, one woman and children only conceived in legal wedlock, women are to be subservient to men, etc.Ember is our lead character, and we're told off the bat how in love she is with former boyfriend, Chase, who has joined the military and become a complete hardass toolbag now. Ember arrives home from school where her single mother is promptly arrested, I'm slightly confused as to how. From what I understood, the MM/FBR (people in charge) have issued a new rule that single parents are somehow violating the articles given that they're no longer married even though the children were conceived in wedlock. Ember's mother is arrested and Ember is sent to a reformatory school. No mention of Ember's father here or ever during the book.Ember gets abused at the school by a sadistic teacher, and then before being tortured by the same teacher is rescued by Chase, which becomes the one and only way that Ember survives anything. Chase is there even if it makes no sense.So, Chase is being all silent and brooding, making Ember wonder how she could ever love someone so cold, and how he wasn't like this before, and what had the FBR done to him to break him down and make him like this, etc.Chase tells Ember he's acting on request of her mother who is waiting in a safe house for her daughter, Ember seems to blindly accept this with no proof. The pair sneak around for awhile bypassing soldiers and checkpoints and all kinds of crap, Ember is repeatedly sexually assaulted, Chase moans a lot, Ember likes to stare at him and remember how he was, blah, blah, blah.The pair stumble upon some sort of scene where a guy is trying to steal another guy's dead cow, Chase easily diffuses the situation and he and Ember have a place to stay for the night with the cow's owner. Or the guy who was stealing it. I forget who they sided with. Ember is simply screaming Chase's name a lot in this whole scene and hugs him when she thinks he's been shot; which he hasn't.Whilst in the house of these new friends, Ember overhears the owner talking to his wife about how much money they'll get for Chase and Ember (both wanted criminals now) and so Ember does the only thing she can think of, which is turn off the generator and run while Chase fights his way out and then meets Ember outside.They go running off again and find some random resistance group who know Chase somehow, Chase reveals to Ember that her mother is actually dead and he was ordered to kill her but couldn't. Ember wanders off in a trance and gets herself arrested and thrown into jail where she awaits trial in three days. Chase lets himself get arrested to save her, they get out and make it to another gang of resistance people.So that's the basic story. To its credit, its a fast paced novel. But its too fast. Way too much happens way too quickly to have any lasting impact. For example, Ember often thinks about her friends from school whom we saw only in Chapter 1 and never again. Ember is only in the reform school for a chapter or 2 and then on the run with Chase, yet a girl she met there, Rebecca, becomes some sort of symbol to her. The whole thing with the cow only takes a chapter or so, meeting with the resistance groups is only two or so chapters.One instance that bugged me was Ember's time in prison. Three days. That's all. Three days. They tell her three days until her trial and then she'll be moved to an actual prison, so she has three days in this one containment place and the first thing they do is let her wander around with some crazy old woman (entrusted with a key that seems to open ever door) and clean cells and stuff. Ember then thinks she will gain enough trust in those three days (despite being a wanted criminal) to be allowed to clean on her own and orchestrate an escape. In three days? Really? What kind of dodgy containment centre lets prisoners out of their cells before a trial? Seems to just be asking for trouble. But we're not given a lot of time to think about this because Ember is soon somewhere else.It's just sooooo much stuff crammed into one. And yet there are pages and pages of waffle of Chase/Ember going on about how they do/don't care about each other and I seriously couldn't care less. Ember, by herself, would be a good character but she's absolutely insufferable when around Chase. When she's with him, he is all she sees - a fact she seems to happily acknowledge. She has no desires when she's with Chase other than to be with Chase. He comes to her rescue constantly, even when she doesn't need it, and she is quite happy to take a back seat while he does all the work. Now, I get that this is the society this author has created, but considering the way Ember started out she's seen as some sort of social rebel who only goes along with the laws because she has to and not because she believes them. But with Chase, Ember is utterly hopeless.Even when there is a chance for Ember to do something on her own, no need to fear if she fails because Chase is right there. Whilst in the containment facility, Ember hits on a guard to steal his gun, manages to hide the gun in her bra and plans to take the key from her crazy cleaning friend and feign taking a body to the crematorium herself and then running off. Good plan, no chance to execute it because Chase is in the way.Ember manages to separate herself from crazy cleaning lady by saying she will go and clean up after a suicide in a cell that happened the night before, and wouldn't you know it the person who committed suicide is Chase. Accept he didn't commit suicide, and I was actually quite annoyed that he didn't. I started thinking "Great, he's gonna die! This will be awesome, then Ember will be a angsty mess and be all dark now that she has no one. I'd actually like to see her without Chase." But no, Chase isn't dead. He just cut his wrists for some reason and they sent a cleaning team in there. So, so much for Ember's escape plan, now she has to deal with Chase who admits he let himself get arrested so he could rescue her. Clearly he has absolutely no faith that she is able to do anything herself, which is annoying because she does seem to be self-assured but happily falls into an annoying, waif role when Chase is there.All in all, it's mediocre. There's way too much information that's not explained, new information is given all the time at varying points of the novel. Not that I think the author should bulk out the first three chapters setting the scene, but she doles out information that would seemingly be vital to know beforehand only after the time has past for it to be useful, if that makes sense. For example, turning criminals over to the authorities for money only comes up after Ember overhears this is what's about to happen to her.Maybe I'm nitpicking, maybe the whole Ember/Chase mess was so frustrating it just made everything else annoying.I don't really recommend this one unless you're into teen angst love stories, because that's what this one is.
  • (5/5)
    I personally loved this book. The plot didn't seem completely far fetched. It was enjoyable to read and imagine how the United States came to be the way it was. I do hope we get more answers in the last book as to what happened to the current government and how the setting of Article 5 came to be.I enjoyed the romance between Ember and Chase. It didn't feel forced, as romances sometimes do in dystopian novels.I liked the fact that they grew up together and had history.I know Ember's character annoyed some readers, but I found her very relatable.Overall, this is one of my favorite books that I have read in awhile, and I can't wait for the 3rd book to come out.
  • (2/5)
    I gave this one until page 210, which is about 50 pages more than I normally give a book. I waited longer to see if it would get better because Simmons sets up a disturbingly plausible dystopia. Like Atwood, Simmons' concept of the type of religious fascism that could develop is dead on the money. The problem with the book, though, is that Ember is one of the least likable protagonists I have met in recent history. She's not a critical thinker, she's just...well...the B word. While it may be realistic that someone jailed and later on the run would be at turns whiny and viscous to others, Ember doesn't have much substance other than needing to be rescued and being vicious to her rescuer. I really really wanted to like this book, but...
  • (1/5)
    Full Review to be posted soon:

    I really struggled to finish this book, everytime the heroine did something stupid or moaned and there was many many instances of this in the book - I just wanted to give up on the book. The book had a fantastic premise, which is similar in vein to The Handmaid's Tale of a facist/theocratic government who takes over the US. However despite the setting and premise, the setup and world-building was very very weak and vague. Descriptions were also problematic and there was a few times, I felt lost because things were cut out or missed. I also wished there was more on the background on the war and how the country fell to this government because the time-frame on how this happened was also vague and it was way to rapid as well.
    But the real issue was the characterisation of the narrator, and oh did she get on my nerves with her constant whining, and judgemental attitude about her situation. I can understand some instances where a character can be naive or innocent, but she was too stupid to live by making impetuous and short sighted decisions without any thought of repercussions.
    There isn't much I can say of the good things in this book other than the premise and even that wasn't explored very well and other books have done a better job.
  • (3/5)
    Read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale--similar plot line, much better written.
  • (2/5)
    UMMM....I really tried to find some kind of connection to this story but it failed me. It ,for me, was just so random in it's writing. Now they are doing this and now they are doing that but the two have no explanation nor do they tie together until a chapter later and then you understand why they did this and that. No world building either which really bothered me. Do not even get me started on Ember I couldn't stand her. I will read the 2nd book but only to follow Chase, whose character I did like. But if Ember doesn't straighten up and Chase still takes her shit... me and this series will have to part ways.
  • (3/5)
    I was originally interested in this book as a litter circle book for my freshmen for a dystopian/government unit but after listening to it, I decided to go with a different option. This being said, it's not a bad book. In fact, I did enjoy the premis of the story but there were some parts of the romance story that I didn't want to deal with in a freshmen class. While this wasn't one of my favorite dystopian novels, it is action packed. However, it took awhile to really get to know the characters and to start to care about them. However, once that happened, I didn't want the story to end. And lucky for me it doesn't have to as this is apart of a series. I will eventually move onto the next book but not anytime soon.
  • (3/5)
    This was an okay book, but I had expected it to be a hell lot better. It had an interesting premise and a possibility to be a 5 star book but it turned out to be just another cliched dystopian with the notion: society bad, people good, lovers doomed... bleh. It was too damn predictable and too much like any other dystopia on the shelf. It was a big disappointment because I had high expectations.

    I would've given 2 stars to the story but I liked Kristen Simmons' writing. Looking forward to reading the sequel now.
  • (2/5)
    started off a strong dystopian with an interesting premise. the us has turned into a 'moral' country with rights turned backwards. women are only valued for their men and home skills. I initially picked it up because of today's political drama- I can easily see a version of this happening if the election goes the wrong way. about 2/3 of the way through it gets hard to finish though. the story begins to focus on a dysfunctional relationship between the two teen leads, and it lost most of my interest.
  • (4/5)
    Plot: 4 stars
    Characters: 3 stars
    Style: 3 stars
    Pace: 4 stars
    Erring on the side of an extra star here, as it's really a 3 1/2 star sort of book. Great premise, very believable.
  • (5/5)
    This book seemed like a cross between The Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games. It wasn't incredibly original, but it was interesting and well written.
  • (4/5)
    Hello fellow dystopian lovers! I think I have found another winner in the midst the hordes of dystopian novels out there.Article 5 follows the story of Ember Miller, who was born out of wedlock, loses her mother due to the new Moral Statutes that the government has put in place. It is this specific statute, Article 5, that her mother has violated and has been carted off for a trial and sentencing. Ember is taken to a girls rehab and reformatory to learn how to be a “good model” for the rest of society.I absolutely adored Ember. She was feisty, determined, and headstrong. She surely did not go quietly and never gave up hope for finding her mother. Her beautiful next door neighbor and wolf-eyed boy, Chase, was drafted by the FBR (Federal Bureau of Reformation) to be a soldier. These soldiers keep people like Ember and her mother in line, but when Chase accompanies the soldiers who come to take Ember’s mother away…you can be sure things won’t be the same. Chase has changed into a cold, seemingly heartless robot with dead eyes and Ember fears that the boy she was in love with is gone forever.This story follows Ember and Chase on their journey of rebellion against an oppressive government in a not-so-distant future that has gotten entirely too power hungry. No one can be trusted. Nothing and no one are as they seem. Time is of the essence and danger is everywhere. Watching Chase and Ember grow and change is truly something to marvel. Simmons has done a fantastic job with world building (or in this case, world destruction & attempted rebuilding), character development, and conveying the character’s’ emotions so artfully that they are palpable.Thank goodness this is a series because the ending is a fantastically crafted cliff-hanger! I recommend this to anyone who loves the dystopian sub-genre. I really enjoyed how the setting and circumstances of this novel are of a future that are entirely possible for our great nation. It made the story that much more believable and terrifying at the same time.
  • (3/5)
    I was really enjoying the book. When Ember was sent to the camp with the other girls and they took her mother, the story was intense and interesting. But, after Chase took Ember away, the story became too slow and just trudged along. I saw the big reveal coming, from the beginning. Chase and Ember were just not that interesting to me, if the story line would have continued at the camp I think it would have held my interest. I may read the second book, I may not.
  • (2/5)
    predictable  storyline, but still pretty good.