Author: M Hendrix
Narrator: Laura Knight Keating
Published: June 6, 2023
Audiobook: 6 Hours 45 minutes/ 448 Pages
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To/Read: June 26-29 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Like every young woman in New America, Stella knows the rules:
Abstain from sin.
Navigate the world with care.
Respect your chaperone.
Stella can’t go out by herself, or spend time with boys except at Visitations. Girls in New America must have chaperones at all times until they marry, so Stella’s lucky that Sister Helen is like a friend to her. When Sister Helen dies suddenly, she’s devastated, especially when the Constables assign Stella a new chaperone just days later.
Sister Laura is… different. She leaves Stella alone at the library (isn’t that illegal?) and knows how to get into the “Hush Hush” parties where all kinds of forbidden things happen. As Stella spends more time with Sister Laura, she begins to question everything she’s been taught. What if the Constables’ rules don’t actually protect girls? What if they were never meant to keep them safe?
Once Stella glimpses both real freedom and the dark truths behind New America, she has no choice but to fight back against the world she knows. She sets out on a dangerous journey across what was once the United States, risking everything.
This book was something! I have not read The Handmaid’s Tale, but saw the first episode of the tv show and know what it’s about and The Chaperone is definitely a cleaner YA version. (A cleaner as in PG-13 for a few parts.)
In New America women don’t have rights and girls are subjected to even more rules. You can never be alone and once girls become women (ie has their first period) they have to have a chaperone. Stella is in the upper class and has her own private chaperone that lives with her family and Stella’s younger sister will have her own chaperone in a few years. The book starts with the death of Sister Helen and everything changes.
Next comes Sister Laura who is different and she begins teaching Stella things and Stella begins to have experiences that she never would have under Sister Helen. Stella begins to think differently and then the book goes in a direction with Stella that months ago she would have never questioned. A journey of self-discovery, finding out the many truths and more comes with the rest of the novel. Saying anything else would be giving away things.
I really enjoyed this book! This is a society that we would not want to live under at all: Girls are expected to marry and then have many babies. Some girls do get to go to college, some become chaperones. The book is about 450 pages but is an extremely fast read and the shorter chapters help. In addition to having a paperback copy, I was also granted a listening copy from the publisher and was able to listen to it during my hour commute to and from work. I therefore finished this book in just a few days! I could not put it down! I wanted to know what was going to happen next!
This is a book that makes you think a lot about women rights/etc and I was thinking about it for a few days after finishing! I really hope M Hendrix is able to continue the series as I really want to know what is going to happen next in Stella’s world! There is an ending to this book, but there is still so much more for us to experience next! If you enjoy dystopian’s this is one to pick up!
The narrator is Laura Knight Keating and she did a great job portraying Stella. I hope she is brought back for the next book. Many thanks to the publisher for granting me an audio copy which I listened to as I read my paperback copy!