Saturday, March 10, 2012

Article 5 (Article 5 #1) by Kristen Simmons: review

Goodreads rating: 3.95
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Tor Teen
Series: Article 5 #1
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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.
The uniqueness of Article 5 is in the heartbreaking romance. The fact that the romance occurs in a dystopian setting makes it that much harder. I don’t have much to say about this one. I enjoyed it. It was a surprisingly quick read and I didn’t want to put it down. But it also wasn’t on par with other amazing dystopians I’ve read. What made this one special was the romance.

Ember lives in a post-apocalyptic world with a LOT of rules. These are called articles, and Ember tries so hard to keep her and her mother under the radar. Sadly, it doesn’t work, and Ember’s mother is taken by soldiers. One of them is the boy that used to live next door. The boy that she was best friends with. The boy that she used to love. He barely acknowledges her as they take her mother away, and only steps in when it looks like another soldier is going to hit her. And then he disappears out of her life again. Ember is sent to a school for girl “orphans,” which isn’t the semi-pleasant place she was expecting. Girls get beaten, and the warden isn’t exactly the motherly type. Ember feels more trapped than ever, knowing that her mother is out there, without her to protect her.

The romance was sweet. And different. These two characters already loved each other before, but all Ember sees is a violent, empty soldier. Chase is nothing of the boy she used to know; the boy she used to love. And eventually she’s forced to be on the run with him without knowing why he’s trying to help her. Or if it’s part of some conspiracy plan to put her right in the hands of the authority. But while Ember doesn’t truly recognize Chase, he saves her life more than once and she knows that she has to trust him so that she can see her mother again. Sadly, nothing goes as planned.

As far as I can remember, there was no big cliffhanger ending besides the usual “our lives are forever in jeopardy, oh woe to me!” But I’m really excited to read the next one. While Simmon’s world isn’t all that different from any other YA dystopian book, I get the feeling that the romance between Ember and Chase is going to get far more complicated. Definitely add Article 5 to your debut list this year. 


  1. I'm glad the romance was such a key part to this book. Even if everything else seemed like an average dystopian, a good romantic plot will definitely win me over. I have this on my TBR pile right now so hopefully I'll get to it soon!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  2. I gave this book 4 stars, too! I found their romance to be incredibly rocky because of their pasts and the situations that the dystopian world forced them into. Great review!


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