Published by Aladdin on September 7th 2010
An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government.
Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.
Matt's society is very much like our own. We all live relatively normal lives and have X amount of money to spend. The only difference? In Matt's society, every family has a limit. An amount of money that they can freely spend without facing the consequences. Consequences that Matt never thought he would need to face.
While The Limit has all the elements needed to make it a wonderful novel, the dystopian element, for the most part, fell flat for me. The reader gets a decent glimpse into Matt's government controlled world, yet it is really never explained or explored as to why the society is the way it is. Readers, for the most part, are just left to assume that this is just the way things are.
Dystopian element aside, the novel as a whole was terrific. Matt as a character was really unique. He is a highly intelligent child who does not hide his smartness. Add in some other fantastic characters and a mystery / cover up story, and more than a few readers will be glued to this novel's pages until the very end.
The Limit is an exciting and fast-paced middle grade dystopian-ish novel. While it is hard to recommend the novel to die-hard dystopian fans, younger readers and those entering the genre will be more than pleasantly surprised.