Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review - The Young World by Chris Weitz


I was kindly provided with a copy by Little Brown & Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

I had heard a lot of good things about this book, the first young adult novel from acclaimed director Chris Weitz (Twilight:New Moon / Golden Compass etc!) set in the near future in New York City a sickness has decimated the cities adults and young children leaving just the teenagers behind.

Left to fend for themselves these teenagers form tribes and stick to their different parts of town, this story is all about the Washington Square tribe and told from the POV of two of its members Jefferson and Donna.

As the story starts the scene is set as we discover how the teens are living, which is reasonably well considering, them seem to have supplies, thanks to their resident genius they still have iPods charged by the Sun and thanks to the high end stores in NYC they have fabulous wardrobes.  They have made their homes in the houses surrounding the square and are living their lives to the full as when they turn 18 they will succumb to the sickness and die.

After they are threatened by another tribe who want some of the girls in exchange for a pig you get an idea of how they are set up, they have guns and lots of them raided from the local police precinct , and they are not afraid to use them.  

Following his brothers death, Jefferson is elected leader of the tribe, it is up to him to make sure they survive but when another tribe member discovers information relating to the sickness and a potential cure they decide to make their way to a library to find some papers relating to the information.  Only four of them go, Jefferson, Donna who is secretly in love with, Peter African/American and gay and Brainbox whose nerdy skills before the sickness where mocked but are in demand after.  

Setting off in their bulletproof vehicle they make their way through the abandoned streets of NYC stopping only to pick up a stray who has followed them SeeThrough a young Chinese girl with total badass skills.  The library is believed to be haunted so all they want to do is get in and out as quickly as possible, splitting up (bad idea!) they start looking for the book they need what they don't bargain for is coming across a tribe living in the library who use the Greek alphabet for their names and happen to love a nice bit of human flesh.  Our intrepid gang are needless to say out of there in a shot but only after some maiming and killing has gone down.

They do however now know where they have to go, a research island outside NYC, do they go there risking travelling through some of the worst areas of the city, plus they no longer have a vehicle as it exploded following a shoot out with another tribe, can they find the cure?

They decide to make the journey and the story takes us through many different parts of NYC both above and below ground, they come across bustling markets where a new form of cash is exchanging hands and they also meet people some good, some just plain evil plus they are teenagers they have hormones so they are also busy having sex, eyeing up potential partners and getting drunk, this is something I liked about this story, it could have been written with them just leaving their safe haven walking through the city and shooting some people but they are still getting excited by all the things teenagers love plus they have easy access to any shops and buildings.

The ending came too soon for me and this is with a 300+ pages but it was a great set up for the next book (I hope) and I can't wait to find out how the teens survive in the next book.

The Young World is well written and the believable conversations and general teenage chit chat is unbelievably good, at one point whilst running from the bad guys one girl manages to compliment another on her choice of skirt! The background of NYC is instantly recognisable and is the perfect setting for this book.
This book also covers a lot of issues such as homophobia, racism just to name a few.

I don't know if I can totally pigeon hole it, dystopian? young adult? whatever it is if you like teenage angst, a bit of unrequited love with some badass shoot em ups then this is for you.

It is thrilling, scary, sweet, romantic and so much more, I hope you love it as much as I did!

The Young World is awarded 5 out of 5







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