Review: The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

April 8, 2014 Review 0 ★★★

Review: The Haven by Carol Lynch WilliamsThe Haven by Carol Lynch Williams
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 4, 2014
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia
3 Stars

Sexual content

Kissing, references to sexual activity.

For the teens at The Haven, the outside world, just beyond the towering stone wall that surrounds the premises, is a dangerous unknown. It has always been this way, ever since the hospital was established in the year 2020. But The Haven is more than just a hospital; it is their home. It is all they know. Everything is strictly monitored: education, exercise, food, and rest. The rules must be followed to keep the children healthy, to help control the Disease that has cast them as Terminals, the Disease that claims limbs and lungs—and memories.

But Shiloh is different; she remembers everything. Gideon is different, too. He dreams of a cure, of rebellion against the status quo. What if everything they’ve been told is a lie? What if The Haven is not the safe place it claims to be? And what will happen if Shiloh starts asking dangerous questions?

THE HAVEN is a thrilling, romantic way to introduce young readers to dystopian human rights, but may not be satisfying for anyone who knows where Soylent Green comes from or who has been to The Island with Ewan McGregor.  A short, age-appropriate adventure, THE HAVEN is best suited for a younger audience.

In addition to feeling overly familiar with the plot, there was a certain youthful quality to the characterizations in this book as well.  Bad guys are bad, good guys are cute, peers can be stressful.  Older readers, or those well versed in YA and dystopian fiction, may find these clearly recognizable flags rather lackluster.  Overall, however, THE HAVEN doesn't drag out the story.  Action happens quickly, characters develop in expected ways, and the story races to a definitive end that seemed less of a cliffhanger than mildly ambiguous.  For a young reader, THE HAVEN will most likely spark conversation and thoughts about the lines between scientific progress and exploitation, the nature of humanity, and the role of civil disobedience in a society.

While not great for a more sophisticated readers, THE HAVEN should work well with it's intended audience.  A romantic, age-appropriate adventure that provokes thought, THE HAVEN could be the Soylent Green of the next generation.

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