Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 Twelve-year old Rosi has grown up in peaceful Fredtown, where she, her younger brother Bobo, and dozens of other refugee children have been raised by loving foster Fred-parents who taught them the values of trust, honesty, and nonviolence. Now she and all the other children have returned to their real parents in a town scarred by war and divided by lingering animosity. Rosi’s naïveté and righteousness soon place her and others in danger she doesn’t understand, and she’s also faced with harsh truths about the Freds themselves. This fast-paced, harrowing tale of innocence lost is a solid dystopia for beginners. The war between brown-eyed and green-eyed people sets a simple, straightforward stage for conflict, while naïve Rosi stands in for the naïve reader to whom everything is explained by adults. Savvy readers will likely catch on quickly to the fact that the Freds are aliens trying to save humanity from itself, but readers new to the genre will appreciate the story’s clarity. What the novels lacks in subtlety, it makes up for with a strong narrative that packs an emotional punch. Dark and heart-wrenching, this first volume in a planned series should excite readers who want thought-provoking stories and those who have outgrown the need for easy answers. AM - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2016 Gr 4–8—Twelve-year old Rosi has spent her entire life away from her parents. She, her brother, and the other children from her hometown were brought to Fredtown as infants to be kept safe from danger. This small, structured, and simple community named after the Norwegian word for peace is the only environment the children have ever known. When the Fred-parents abruptly inform the children they will be returning home, questions flood Rosi's mind but are left unanswered. The children are forced onto an airplane heading to a place that feels foreign, where they are greeted by biological parents who are strangers to them. At first, Rosi is desperate to return to Fredtown. Then she begins to uncover mysteries and question what she's been told all along. Haddix brilliantly sets up her story, giving readers just enough information to keep them grounded while elevating tension through Rosi's uncertainty. Fast-paced action, plot twists, and cliff-hanger chapter endings will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Haddix's tone and language and the absence of graphic violence make this an ideal selection for younger readers eager for a dystopian novel. VERDICT Fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember and Haddix's own "Shadow Children" series will want to be first in line for this book.—Beth Parmer, New Albany Elementary Library, OH - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.