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.
It is so easy to want what others have, but would you be willing to trade your life as you know it? The idea of sending children to workhouses to support family spending habits seems very disturbing, but also very realistic. It is a book that takes place in the future, but seems to show flashes of our past mistakes in regards to child labor. The parents in this story are particularly frustrating-they seem inept with taking care of their finances, and don't fight enough to help Matt. Thrilling at times, disturbing at others, this is a great read for those who like realistic fiction and are ready to try sci fi.