All Good Children, by Catherine Austen (2011)

Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopian)
Interest Level: 11-18
All Good ChildrenSet in a not-too-distant future, one that is too easily envisioned, troublesome teenager Max lives in New Middleton with his overworked mother and little sister Ally. Max adores Ally and shows it by teasing and tormenting her whenever he can. He drives his mother and teachers crazy with his interest in graffiti art, annoying behavior and sheer insolence – even I wanted to whack him now and then. Your typical teenager, right? But this is not a typical world. New Middletown is a walled city built by Chemrose to house the workers looking after the huge generation of elderly. People who live in these cities consider themselves lucky, compared to those on the outside fighting to survive in the brutal landscape poisoned by toxic air and toxic spills. In this future, history reads like a fairy tale: “A world where everyone had a car and a doctor and a right to an education.” Max isn’t the only troublesome teen, and so Chemrose and school leaders come up with a solution. This novel won the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year for 2012, and deserves it and more. Rich and true-to-life characters, an unnervingly plausible storyline, and tight writing combine to create a suspenseful thrill ride for teens to enjoy, while at the same time raising questions about freedom, resistance and blind obedience (think Nazis).
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