Sarah's Stars

Claire Carmichael. Leaving Simplicity
Annick Press  $10.95  ISBN 978-1-55451-089-4  255 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 13

As Taylor and I hesitated in the doorway, Will shoved us both into the room, then stepped back into the corridor. I heard Steve Rox laugh just as the door slammed shut. Too late I noticed there was no handle on our side.

I cracked open Leaving Simplicity, not expecting much, but before I knew it, the plot had sprinted up to me, hog-tied me and dragged me in. In what seemed like a few blinks of an eye, the book was finished and I must say, I enjoyed every minute of it.

The story is set in the very near future in a world full of technology and advertisements. As you drive past billboards you can't escape the loud, obnoxious voices urging you to buy the product, and companies sponsor classes at school. If you try to speak out against it, the political leaders find a way to quietly make you disappear. Barrett is clueless to this madness. The orphaned teen lives in his uncle's society, ‘Simplicity’. It is a small rural community outside the city devoted to learning, quietness and most of all, simplicity. They dress modestly in clothes of a dull shade, they sit and mediate and their dearest joys are simply spending quality time outside with friends and family. All this is shattered when Barrett's uncle dies and he must go live with his shallow cousin Taylor, who's mom just happens to be the head of a leading advertisement company. The introduction to modern society is a shock to Barrett but as he uncovers some horrific truths about his new family and their lifestyles, life as Barrett knows it may seem even more sinister than just advanced technology and greedy advertising firms...

I think anyone over the age of 12 could enjoy this book. It's fast-paced, exciting and it seeks to inform readers of the deadly truths of technology that could very well come true in our near future. It is a refreshing read compared to a lot of by-the-number adventures out there but I did catch a few similarities to Scott Westerfield's Uglies trilogy. But if you've read those books, don't let that take away from the story at hand. This is one futuristic adventure you do not want to miss!

This reviewer gives Leaving Simplicity four and one-half shocking stars.

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