Book Review: ‘Article 5’ by Kristen Simmons

Article 5 was one of a few new books I bought at the RT Booklovers Convention, a couple weeks ago. A friend had told me about it, and I was intrigued by its premise. On a whim, I bought the book and met the author, Kristen Simmons (who is really cool, by the way). I finally got to reading Article 5 the other day, and I found it to be a satisfying dystopian read.

Article 5 is set in a post war-torn United States. A new kind of leader has taken command, and he destroyed the previous set of rules or rights (like the Bill of Rights). He set up a new set of statutes or articles that basically take away everyone’s freedoms. Ember, a teenage girl, is living during these times. It’s set no so far into the future that Ember and especially her mother remember how the country was before the war. Ember is resilient about following the statutes in order to protect her mother, who likes to break the rules now and then. However, a newly amended statute causes Ember’s mother to be arrested and for Ember to be sent to a reformation center. Ember can’t believe what’s happening and what even makes it worse is that Chase, the one she loves, has come back to arrest her mother and potentially separate them forever.

The beginning of Article 5 throws you into the story, which is great. You’re just as confused as Ember, and curious to figure out what’s happening and what this could all mean. Immediately, the reader realizes how despicable this new world is. It’s dreary, scary and just beyond disconcerting. The author does a great job depicting the new world. In ways, she doesn’t hold back or gloss over the cruelties that are going on. As for the pacing, while it was great and fast in the beginning, it slows down in the middle. There’s more going on for the characters emotionally in the middle. There is also some action going on, but it does take a backseat to what’s happening between Ember and Chase.

I’ve read a few other reviews for Article 5 before reading it, and many said that they didn’t like how “whiny” Ember is. I quite disagree with that. As someone who isn’t a teenager anymore (I’m 23), I found that when reading YA books that the authors make it very easy to forget that a character is 16 or 17 years old. Sometimes, it’s too easy. I mean, they make them a little too wise for their years. Or they make them a little too likable. I’m sorry but I can definitely say that I wasn’t like those characters as a teenager. So, yes, Ember is a bit whiny and may make some bad judgment calls. But remember, she is a teenager and she’s not perfect. (Don’t get me wrong, not every teenager is whiny or whatever. Yet, still everyone is different.) Hence, I was actually happy that the Simmons created a lead that I didn’t agree with or like 100% of the time! How refreshing! Although, I wish Simmons developed Chase a little more than she did. I’m hoping in the sequels we get to know and understand him better.

There are SO many dystopian books out on the market right now. I definitely say that if you going to read a few of them, add Article 5 to your list. It’s an interesting world, with an authentic lead and it ends on the right note, leaving the reader both satisfied and curious for more.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons can be purchased at our TYF Store, powered by Amazon.

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