Review: The Limit

Review: The LimitThe Limit by Kristen Landon
Published by Aladdin on September 7, 2010
Genres: Adventure
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment.

In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.

Kristen Landon's The Limit brings the popular dystopian thriller genre to a middle grade audience.

I picked up this book because I thought it was a dystopia. But it’s not really. I definitely have some reservations about this society’s systems, but they definitely don’t qualify as dystopia levels of horror. The only worrying aspect mentioned besides the workhouses for kids (who get younger and younger as the novel progresses) was that old people, when unable to care for themselves anymore, are forced in to homes. When this happens, all of their stuff, except for a few trinkets to serve as memorabilia, is sold off to pay for the costs of the old folk’s home, which I’m sure is super nice.

I do wonder what happens when single people or married individuals without progeny go over their limit. They can’t send a kid, so I guess they use the other three options, but that seems sort of uneven and unfair. For the most part though, the future seems pretty believable, although child labor laws might prevent it. Maybe not though, since the kids only work a couple hours each day, spending the rest of the work day on school work. The children at the workhouses actually get a better education than those in the schools, because they have personal tutoring tailored to their abilities.

As mentioned above, this is not a dystopia really. More of an adventure/thriller for children. I almost expected the story to end with “It would have worked, if it weren’t for you meddling kids,” accompanied by a fist shake. Landon’s book is engaging and presents and interesting futuristic America, but definitely aimed at older children/younger teens.

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