The One Safe Place-Tania Unsworth
In a dystopian future, a boy fresh off the farm ends up in a mega-city where he falls in with orphans and ends up in an orphanage where not all is as amazing as it seems.
Okay so this ended up being genuinely creepy. I read a lot of dystopia. A lot. For decades now. Now it’s much easier to be a big dystopia fan because there’s a lot of dystopia now on the market and so, unfortunately, things get a bit samey. This one stands out. So set in an unspecified future with more extreme temperatures and a wicked wide wealth gap (so, in other words, rather soon), Devin was once a super sheltered kid living on a farm-so sheltered he has never met anyone other than his grandfather. So he doesn’t know things like the synesthesia is unusual or whathaveyou. But since this is young adult/middle grade genre, all the adults in his life die and he ends up going to the mega-city to find someone to help him. Unsworth doesn’t do anything showy about describing the differences between the farm, the mega-city, and the eventual creepy orphanage Devin is in. Rather, it is all rather matter of fact. The horror of the merciless city, the tranquility of the farm, and the odd behavior of the kids in the orphanage are described in a way that your imagination fills in the details. The ending is well handled and I commend Unsworth on the open endedness.
So why the side? I just couldn’t place this book. The writing was middle grade style I suppose which was too simplistic for the utter intensity of the plot. I could’ve done with the plot being told in an expansive, more young adult kind of way because really, it was so interesting.