Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Expected Publication: July 29, 2014
After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.
The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.
When I started reading The Young World the first thing I noticed was how quickly the plot progressed. However, this wasn't just fast pacing, this was full on bullet train through the story. I don't know about you but I expect a certain amount of back story and world building associated with a story when I start it. With The Young World, however, it was more along the lines of people died, stuff sucks, moving on. Now this wouldn't bug me so much if the story then started to slow down and really go into some depth concerning the main characters motivations and the existence of the tribes themselves but nope, the pacing never slows, it's harried the entire way and I can't help but feel that maybe it's due to the writer not being very confident in his own work as opposed to a conscious decision to keep things as fast paced as possible to not bore the reader.
Another issue I had was the plot. Yes, I understand it is hard to keep things completely original because someone, somewhere, has probably done something similar to it before but it doesn't hurt to, you know, try. Instead this felt like a mishmash of stories that came before it such as: Quarantine: The Loners, Gone , Wasteland , Midnight City , Lord of the Flies and the list goes on and on.....
Lastly, I think my biggest issue with the story had to be the dual narratives. Had the story been entirely from Jefferson's perspective I probably would have ended up rating this higher but having to listen to Donna and her holier than thou attitude was just too much. Donna just seemed like a girl who only decided to even give Jefferson the time of day because another girl was interested and her choices were limited. She was flighty and I didn't like that.
Now although I did have issues with The Young World, I still enjoyed the overall story enough to keep reading.
First off, I rather enjoyed the character Brainbox. He reminded me of a young Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory). A guy like him shouldn't be able to survive in a world run amock but somehow he not only survives but thrives. I also really liked Jefferson. He might not be a natural leader but he turns into a very fine one by books end. He also understands that sacrifices must be made sometimes in order to achieve a goal even if that sacrifice isn't the moral one.
Secondly, I really liked the overall journey the characters take as we get to see how many different tribes functioned and the people that exist within them. I'm not gonna lie some of the tribes made me uncomfortable because they involved underage prostitution, cannibalism, dog fighting and implied female servitude but then again it was also very realistic. There will always be those who can't be pacified by a simple life. They need the danger and the power that comes with it. Greed doesn't just go away because civilization as we know it does.
Lastly, I liked the ending. While I was saddened that a thorn in Donna's side ceased to exist, the end reveal sets up the next book very nicely.
The Young World might not have been a perfect book but overall I enjoyed it and I guess ultimately that is what matters most. If you like action packed survival stories with young adult protagonists then I recommend picking The Young World up and giving it a go. However, I'd highly suggest borrowing before buying since as I mentioned above it isn't too original and if you read a lot like I do you might be flustered by the similarities to books that have come before it.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Young World by Chris Weitz ★★★.
*Copy reviewed provided by publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
Chris Weitz is an Oscar-nominated writer and director. His films include The Twilight Saga: New Moon, A Better Life, About a Boy, The Golden Compass, and American Pie. The Young World is his first novel.