Author: Josh Malerman
Published: March 19, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.
J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.
But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.
Wow. This book definitely was a thinker! There was a lot of philosophizing and internal dialogue through the whole story. Thankfully, the ideas were fascinating enough that I was able to keep up fairly well. The main reason for the 4 stars is because I missed the action. I do like character driven plots but they do need to move along. This book was a little slow. However when the action did start, then it went fast! I liked the overall concept and even though many of the kids blurred together, I liked getting to know the characters. Overall, this was a fascinating read that scratched the dystopian itch, without actually being dystopian.