- Taken by Erin Bowman
All the men in Claysoot disappear the minute they turn eighteen, leaving behind children they have fathered during month-long relationships with girls chosen by the village leaders, a process designed to discourage commitment and love matches. Despite these precautions, Gray has fallen in love with Emma; at the same time, he has discovered a secret about himself that unsettles everything he has ever known. Despite the fact that everyone who has ever attempted an escape has been found dead, Gray decides to risk going over the wall around Claysoot rather than waiting until he is taken; he's followed by Emma, and the two discover a world that's full of secrets and danger but that also holds the possibility of freedom for their people. [End Page 412] The ravenous appetite of young readers for dystopias is fortunately matched by the seemingly limitless imagination of authors for creating them, and the genre's enduring questions of how to balance security with freedom and when to risk one for the other play out effectively here. Readers will find all the elements they love—a sinister overlord who plays with people like pawns, a fearless and feisty rebel force with a possibly doomed plan, innovative uses of technology, athletic girls who know how to use weapons, characters with an appealingly unfinished, emotionally clumsy quality, and a love triangle as Gray must find his heart between the love of Emma and one of the young female dissidents. Give this to fans of James Dashner's The Maze Runner (BCCB 11/09) and the Hunger Games trilogy.