Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Boys!



Author: James Dashner
Released: October 2009
Publisher: Random House (Delacorte Press)
# Pages: 374
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark. The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl arrives in the lift—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable. And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

I've long been a fan of novels that put young adults into unusual situations where the have to use their wits instead of their electronics. Enter Mazerunner. Thomas finds himself in the Glade - a compound that seems remarkably well organized to me, considering there are no adults -and he tries to fit in with the other boys who have been there for some time. What is interesting is that Mr. Dashner show his leaders amongst the group making the most of the boys strengths and developing a strong cohesive unit, instead of the chaos that is often found in books of this type. The mystery in the story is why are the boys in the Glade in the first place, and what is the purpose behind the maze? Thomas immediately questions everything about the compound and the maze and is determined to solve the puzzle. It has been decided, before his arrival, that once the maze has been 'solved' the boys will be allowed to go home and a great deal of time and energy is expended in trying to achieve this goal

The characters' reaction when a girl is suddenly added to the mix is wonderful. Most teenage boys don't know quite what to do with girls at the best of times, and this is no exception. They have developed a society that they have become comfortable with and the addition of a girl into the mix causes almost insurmountable problems.

I found myself quickly falling into the world and was almost breathless when Thomas is caught in the maze at the wrong time. Without giving away any of the story, I have to say I felt almost sucker-punched at the end. Mr. Dashner, how could you do that to me?

If you are male, or female, and are a fan of dystopian fiction this is a sure bet for you. On another note, this would make a good companion to Lord of the Flies for an ISU comparison.

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