Thursday, May 31, 2012

All Good Children - Catherine Austen

Max, his younger sister Ally, and his mother are on their way back to New Middletown from Aunt Sylvia's funeral, which makes Max and Ally miss the first week of school.  The first day back Max gets into a fight at school and is suspended for another week.  Instead of lazing around the apartment his mom makes him do chores and take Ally to school and pick her up.  They both notice something not right with the kids.  They are just standing in line and very calm, not running around and talking with each other like regular kids should be.  Max pays more attention the next day and notices the same thing as the day before.  After Max goes back to school the football coach lays into him about missing the first two weeks of school and practice.  As punishment he is to coach the middle school football team on Saturdays.  This gives him a way to check on the kids at the middle school to see if they are becoming calm and obedient.  At first they are regular kids.  Then after vaccinations are given at the school, all the students become like the kids at Ally's school.  Max's mom doesn't believe him at first, but when she goes to the middle school football game she realizes something is not right.  When the vaccinations come to the high school the kids in detention are done first.  Max and Dallas are among those kids and they are surprised when Max's mom is one of the nurses administering the vaccinations.  It takes two shots, one in each arm.  Max and Dallas are spared the second shot because of Max's mother.  They pretend like they have gotten the shots and are calling everyone else "zombies".  Max and his mother make plans to take Ally and leave New Middletown either heading north or south.  In the next few weeks Ally is given the vaccine, and it comes down to Dallas and Max being the only ones with any emotion left.  As Christmas Eve, the day they plan to escape, approaches Dallas becomes more and more zombie like.  Max fears that he will tell someone what Max and his mom are planning.  Can they escape without being caught or will Max fall to the vaccination that will make him more obedient?

This is a good book along with it being a bit on the creepy/scary side.  It is set in the near future, so it is possible that human society could become this way.  I hope that humanity will evolve beyond this and not have to resort to vaccines to keep our children in line. 

T.B. 5/31/12

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