I participated in a swap on Swap Bot about Young adult books. Seems like YA novels have made the news quite a bit lately, and not just because piles of them are being made into movies. There’s a lot of controversy over adults reading YA, Ruth Graham had an article chastising those of us who are adults and reading YA, saying we should feel embarrassed.
I read a lot of YA, and I’m not embarrassed about it. YA seems to be where the interesting books are right now. My problem with a lot of “adult” fiction is that they deal with “adult” situations that I can’t relate to. Maybe I’m stuck in limbo somewhere, maybe I’m supposed to be making specific decisions that get me out of there, but I don’t relate to a lot of currently popular adult fiction.
I also think, that since we’re in a world of books, that we’re also people that read anything. Like Todd in The Shadows says about music “Who the hell only listens to one kind of music anymore? Nobody, we live in the mp3 generation. Everyone listens to everything.” That’s how I feel about ebooks. We can ready anything and everything.
Anyway, getting back to the reason for this post, the swap was to read one of the many currently popular YA novels, and then review it. We were given a list and so I chose The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I’d been interested in reading it, and I’d already read a good chunk of the list.
The Maze Runner is… different. It’s unlike a lot of the young adult books I’ve read lately. In most of them, the protagonist is aware of the world they live in. They may not be aware of the demon that lives next door, but they are in a place they’re familiar with. In this, Thomas wakes while being taken to The Glade in a metal lift. The only thing he remembers is his name.
The Glade is home to a bunch (50 or so) boys between the ages of 12 and 18, or so they guess, as few people remember anything from life before coming to the Glade. They’ve organized themselves into groups, tending to life in the Glade. Outside the Glade is a vast maze, and every day runners go out, mapping the maze, trying to find a way out, or a solution. They only way out is a gap in the walls, with a bottomless drop.
The day after Thomas arrives, the lift brings up another Glader, this time a girl. She has a note that says “last one ever” and she goes unconscious immediately after being brought out. This freaks out the Gladers, and they start wondering if Thomas and the girl are connected.
The thing I liked about this book is it’s an adventure and a mystery. Thomas wants to solve the mystery of the maze, and feels like he can. The actual process of them solving the maze is the adventure. There’s character development, and you get to know the characters and their wishes and dreams, but ultimately it’s an adventure. I enjoyed that.
Information about the Glade, the Maze, The Grievers (evil semi mechanical slugs) comes in fits and spurts, and we never really find out much of anything. That’s what I don’t like about the book. No one will tell Thomas much of anything about the Glade and the Maze. They pretty much tell him he has to live there to figure it out. But, his showing up marks the end of the Glade as the Gladers know it. I’m one of those people who wishes a book would back up a few weeks or months to let us have a better idea how how things used to be before things change for good.
Overall, The Maze Runner is okay, but not great. I’m not interested in reading the next two in the series, and I probably won’t go out of my way to re-read this one in the next few years. I might go see the movie, but I’m not going to make it a priority.
So that’s my review, here’s the rest of the books that were options to read. If I’ve read it (or a chunk of the series) it’s in bold.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
His Dark Materials series (Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman
Beastly by Alex Flinn
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones) by Cassandra Clare
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Divergent trilogy (Divergent) by Veronica Roth
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead