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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy)* by James Dashner- young adult book review
Also by James Dashner:

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 2)

The Death Cure (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 3)

The Kill Order (Maze Runner Prequel)

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy)
by James Dashner
Ages 12+ 384 pages Delacorte October 2009 Hardcover    

Arriving up into a new world in a mechanical box, Thomas cannot remember any details about his past life. Greeted by several other teenage boys, he now lives in a large open living space called the Glade surrounded by a vast maze. When a girl comes up in the box the very next day, Thomas vaguely realizes that they have a connection as she lies in a coma for days.

At this point, their entire existence begins to change. In the maze, each evening the doors to the Glade close, the walls move, and Grievers - hideous half-animal/half-machine monsters - enter the maze. No one ever goes into the maze at night, until Thomas feels he must to save friend who has been stung by a Griever.

Everyone who has been stung by a Griever goes through a “Changing,” surviving only with the aid of a serum. While regaining some memories, each person must endure extreme physical suffering a dramatically altered personality.

Although Thomas rescues his friend from the maze, other boys in the glade suspect that Thomas and the girl are somehow related to their predicament. The two discover that they can communicate with each other through their minds, and they know that they have indeed met before.

Although the boys have failed to discover a solution or pattern to the ever-changing maze, they have never given up. When the sun fails to shine, the doors fail to close, and the Grievers begin killing one person each night, Thomas decides that he must lead the group with a different tactical approach to the maze and possible escape, even if it means that some lives will be lost.

The Maze Runner is science fiction survival at its best. The technology is completely integrated within the story such that it functions to enhance the action but does not detract from the characters or plot development. So well-developed are the plotline and characters that the reader becomes invested in story, anticipating the climax yet not wanting it to end.

The slang language used by the characters in the Glade (shank, klunk, etc.) is easy to figure out in context and adds to the unique feeling of time, place and teen characters. My eighth-grade reviewing partner read this book in just a few days, declaring it to be the best book he’s ever read.

Check out the excellent companion website with a game, news of the sequels, and an author Q&A. Give this one to fans of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game; they will not be disappointed. Highly recommended.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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