Book Review: The One Safe Place

Book Review: The One Safe PlaceThe One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth
Published by Algonquin Books on April 29th 2014
Pages: 295
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In this near-future dystopia with echoes of "The Giver" and "Among the Hidden," Tania Unsworth has created an unsettling page-turner fast-paced, smooth, filled with dread that s wholly satisfying and startlingly original.

Devin doesn t remember life before the world got hot; he has grown up farming the scorched earth with his grandfather in their remote valley. When his grandfather dies, Devin heads for the city. Once there, among the stark glass buildings, he finds scores of children, just like him, living alone on the streets. They tell him rumors of a place for abandoned children, with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family. But only the luckiest get there.

An act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the home, but it s soon clear that it s no paradise. As Devin investigates the intimidating administrator and the zombie-like sickness that afflicts some children, he discovers the home s horrific true mission. The only real hope is escape, but the place is as secure as a fortress.

Fans of dystopian fiction and spine-chilling adventure will devour "The One Safe Place"; its haunting themes will resonate long after readers have turned the final page.

thoughtIn the near future, Earth has gotten hot. Lack of water, lack of food are common place. Devin hears all the stories from his Grandfather. How life use to be. How people only lived for themselves. How people planned for the future, but not this kind of future. But Devin is fortunate. Living with his Grandfather outside of the cities on a farm, Devin has never had it truly bad.  Then suddenly his Grandfather passes away. The farm that has always supported them is way too much for him to handle on his own. Devin knows that now is the time for him to venture to the city for help. Only Devin has no idea what is in store for him.

The One Safe Place is an odd duck of a read. It started off pretty decently. Getting to know Devin. How he lives. Bits and pieces of the world and how it operates.

The problem for me throughout The One Safe Place was the details. Certain events are well played out and explained, while others, most of the time, the really important ones are not. In the beginning, and before I started The One Safe Place, I was certain that this read was YA. But it is not. It is more middle grade. That isn’t a bad thing, and actually, helps to explain some of the other minor issues I was having. However, regardless of what age group The One Safe Place is geared towards it can be a little hard to follow.

The bad guys and other bad stuff…

At the heart of The One Safe Place is the idea that a child wants somewhere to belong to. In this world of heat and suffering, it seems that children are the ones getting the short end. Parents often die while their children are young leaving them to fend for themselves. Or even, just abandon them outright. Its no wonder the rumor of a home for abandoned children with all its perks spreads around like wildfire.

But the Home, for short, is not all it seems.

The main mystery with The One Safe Place is figuring out what the Home is really hiding. Despite having an issue with certain details, I have to say that I loved how the mystery unfolded. Subtle hints and clues are given throughout the story, but the realization of the truth was a big surprise.

Verdict:

Has quite a few minor issues, but easily overlooked. A decent science fiction read for younger teens.

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