Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
July 29, 2014
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After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.
The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.
The Young World was an okay read for me. It isn't the most original concept (the Gone series, The Tribe show), but was the first time I had read it. In the two years since the Sickness killed the adults and young children, Jefferson's group has established a sort of society around New York's Washington Square Park. Many things are missing from the life they knew, but they have things pretty well figured. Things work.
Which isn't to say there isn't danger. From the trips outside to find food and supplies, the other 'tribes' that aren't as peaceful, even regular injury and illness now that the adults (and thus doctors) are dead, everyday holds multiple threats.
So, when there's the possibility of discovering more about the Sickness, even maybe ending it, Jefferson knows they have to go. Have to try.
Along with Donna (named for singer Madonna) and a few others from their group, Jeff sets out for a mission more perilous than he imagined.
I enjoyed the beginning setup where we learned about the Washington Square group and how they operate their little 'society.' That part of the story seemed very well imagined and thought through. I was also excited for them to leave, so we could see what was happening in the rest of the city. It was interesting to see how differently those in other areas fared. Based either on individuals' actions or perhaps on the life they had Before.
I did wish there had been more of an explanation on how things had gotten to the point they were at, in only two years. With one group, we receive more of an in depth explanation - that makes sense - than with anyone else, even those in Washington Square. Maybe I was just too curious. It would be find in a movie to just see the state of each tribe, but in a novel I wondered 'why' or 'how,' I suppose.
For the most part, I really liked the characters. Jefferson is a fun character, who - though he doesn't seem sure he wants it - is a natural leader. He has a story, hs past, what's happened to him since the Sickness that is really creative and great background for his character. Brainbox, Peter and some of the other secondary characters were also great additions to the novel. They were different from each other and I liked seeing how they fit into this new world while still being able to see how they fit into (or didn't fit into) the old world.
The romance parts of this novel didn't work for me. The characters started to feel like different people (Donna especially) when it came into play and there just wasn't enough chemistry.
When that was paired with the cruelty to animals (yes, they kill people but the parts with animals seemed more in depth, more described), the lack of much demonstration of the Sickness, something so much a part of their world, and the ending, it really was just an okay read. The ending seems to just happen. There are several parts that seem to come out of nowhere and it is definitely a cliffhanger.
Some aspects of the story - the action, the different groups - seem they would have worked better on screen than in print. There is just enough intrigue in the ending that I will, likely, give the second book a chance.
thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review