Title: The Limit
Author: Kristen Landon
Publisher: Aladdin - Simon and Schuster (USA)
Publication Date: 7 Sep 2010
Source: Author/Publisher - Thanks to Kristen for letting me stalk you for the book [ ; ) ]
Synopsis: From GoodReads
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.
Written in first person narrative from Matt's perspective. Just your average tween math genius forcibly taken from his family when they go over their government assigned credit limit.
The scenario of over-spending and excess consumerism is so frighteningly easy to picture with today's society. A global economic crisis yet spending is encouraged even if it means going into debt to maintaining an image that cannot be afforded. Showing the emphasis placed on material possessions by a shopping fuelled culture. Excessive consumerism is actively encouraged in order to keep families in debt and therefore, the children working.
The reader is given the impression of a 'big brother' society, with the possible manipulation of credit limits in order to take the children with the highest IQs for their own nefarious purpose. Those with lower IQs were used as guinea pigs to test a form of subliminal messaging. My love of conspiracy theories came to live with this story, imagining a Government conspiracy regarding credit taking advantage of the poor/old/gullible for their own gain: hmmm sounds familiar.....
Visually arresting with the use of bar codes at the edge of chapter headings. Cleverly giving hints and parallels to the plot. Reinforcement of key words builds the tension while reiterating the plot. The descriptive writing style enables the reader to fully appreciate how deceptive looks and first impressions can be.
Conclusion: A fascinating psychological thriller for the Middle Grade category with multi-age appeal.