Article 5

Article 5
By Kristen Simmons
Published by Tor Teen
Published on January 31, 2012
Source: From publisher

Summary taken from Goodreads:

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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

 Please tell me that there will be a sequel.  
Article 5 is the first book from author Kristen Simmons, and it leaves me hoping she has a lengthy and prolific career.  I tore through this book, and although the concept is not new, I think it did have a twist that today’s “post-apocalyptic teen love stories” often do not have – legislated morals.
    When I first read the description of the novel (as you can see above), I was excited up until that very last line about Chase Jennings.  I got there and thought, oh, barf, this is just going to be a stupid love story.  It isn’t.  Don’t let a poorly-written jacket throw you.  And although the tortured relationship Ember has with Chase is featured prominently, it is not all googley eyes and stolen kisses.  It is more about a boy and a girl trying to understand what the heck happened to themselves and each other in a world torn by war.
    The author does a nice job of building suspense in both the relationship and in how society is changing.  There are some surprises that I did not quite see coming, and the book left me wanting more.  It is perfectly set up for a sequel.  Personally, I would like to see the author explain the back story a bit more.  Although we learn plenty about Chase, Ember, and Ember’s mother, we learn very little about why there was war in the first place or who is in control of the moral statutes.  We are not really sure where it is going or why.  This could possibly be seen as a mistake, but I think it helps you empathize with the characters, who are just as clueless about the world as we the readers are.  Just like Ember, the horrors of the world are slowly revealed to us.
    There have been some comparisons to the Hunger Games series.  I can see how Ember resembles Katniss, but Article 5 has a much different feeling.  Katniss from the Hunger Games is thrust into an awful situation and is, more or less, instantly bold and brave without actually being aware of it.  Bad thing after bad thing happens to Katniss, but she just cares about her loved ones, not really changing the world.  In Article 5, you feel like Ember is much more conscientious of her choices.  As she is coming into her own as a strong woman, she sees the changes in herself and more or less embraces them.  Towards the end of the novel, you know Ember has the potential to kick some butt and is willfully changing herself – not letting the world change her as Katniss does in the Hunger Games.
    I think this book is definitely worth picking up.  I really enjoyed it.
As a side note, I read this novel 3 nights in a row right before bed.  On the first night, I woke up bawling.  The next night was full of crazy dreams.  Night 3 woke me up gasping for breath because someone was going to shoot me in the face with a crossbow.  Granted, I am prone to VERY vivid scary dreams, and I have an additional kick of pregnancy hormones coursing through me, but if books tend to make their way into your thoughts while sleeping and the concept of apocalypse frightens you, I might recommend reading in the day time.

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