Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: Article 5

ARTICLE 5 (Article 5 #1)
Kristen Simmons
Young Adult/Dystopian
364 pages
Tor Teen
Available Now
Source: Bought

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Dark and bleak, Article 5 presents us with a vision of a future we would do anything to prevent from coming to pass, depicting in detail a world without freedom – one that likely isn’t all that different from what exists in other parts of today’s world, but still one unfamiliar and absolutely terrifying for most of us. The idea of mandatory compliance to government-regulated statutes creates an automatic sense of claustrophobia from the very first page, our breath coming in shorter pants despite the available air around us, and we can almost physically feel the walls of Ember’s life start to close in on her as she finds herself a target by association in an Article violation. As a result, we immediately throw ourselves mentally and emotionally into the story, thrusting our arms out vicariously as though we can stop the walls from moving another inch by sheer determination and will, standing resolutely behind Ember as pillars of strength supporting her as those around her try to tear her down.

Ember starts out a young woman who in the first few pages seems to take her life a bit for granted, a little naïve to the bigger picture of the world around her as she focuses only on what and who is closest to her. That quickly changes however when she’s brutally forced to face the realities of post-War life with no preparation or warning, and we can help but be proud of the way she bravely looks adversity in the eye and refuses to blink when others tuck chin and turn away. She adapts to new situations beautifully, never clinging desperately to the only things she knew from her previous life, but rather observing and studying what’s around her so she can formulate a plan to survive and reach her mother.

While Ember is remarkably strong of mind and extraordinarily level-headed in dangerous situations (most of the time), she is also extremely vulnerable when it comes to Chase, his presence often bringing her flaws into sharp relief as they both battle with shared history, lingering romantic feelings, and betrayal. Initially we fully support the fury she directs at him for the role he plays in her and her mother’s detainment, but as we get short flashbacks to their time together prior to his draft into the FBR, we begin to see how the sense of betrayal is not simply one-sided, and the web of conflicting emotions is far more tangled than we could have imagined. There are times when we begin to get frustrated with the way Ember and Chase treat one another–their communications often terse and tinged with palpable longing, pain, and misplaced anger–but before that irritation fully settles in, we’re able recall that in times of emotional distress we’ve all been guilty of spewing hurtful words in the mistaken hope that our own pain will be expelled with them as they tumble from our mouths, a desperate attempt at self-preservation by verbally siphoning the poison infecting our systems into someone else.

Overall, Article 5 is an outstanding beginning to this dystopian trilogy, a story that has us seeing red at what the world has become, our disappointment in the way humanity responds to the War a heavy burden to bear as we follow Ember and Chase. Luckily for us though, Ms. Simmons lightens our load periodically on our journey with little slivers of hope—a small gesture, kindness, or sign of resistance continually reminding us that amidst the ruins and rubble of a once great nation beauty still exists and compliance is only voluntary.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I loved loved loved Article 5! Chase and Ember's complicated past and relationship really drew me in. Glad you enjoyed this!

  2. I've only read the first five chapters of this one and it was pretty depressing! But I think I'm going to give this one a chance now...

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  3. Another book that I think I'm going to skip. It sounds really good, but I can rarely take dystopia. I hope the dystopic trend passes soon, because they just depress me.

  4. I'm not sure why, but this one completely slipped under my radar even though it really seems like my kind of read. The way you describe it, how the author lightens up the story with bits of hope that humanity is still good reminds me a lot of Ashfall, which also featured both the darkest and lightest aspects of humanity, as well.

  5. I've had this one on my shelf for awhile now, I've kind of been avoiding it, I'm not sure why. Your review has made me excited to read it though so I'll definitely have to get to it soon. The relationship between Ember and Chase sounds particularly fascinating. Great review :)

  6. Oh my gosh, I loved this book so much!! <3 This is one of those books that made me remember why I loved dystopians like I did: they're gritty and intense and terrifying. But one of my favourite parts had to be Ember and Chase together -- I just wanted to hug them both! And I really like how there were flashbacks to their past too because it helped us realize how close they used to be, which was so adorably sweet! ;)

    Beautiful review as always, Jenny! I know that you were really excited to read this one so I'm happy that it didn't disappoint you! :) <3

  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed this too, Jenny! I think I gave it a 4.5 myself. I know some people haven had mixed feelings on the world-building, but I loved it mostly. Awesome review! I honestly can't wait for the next book! :)

  8. I keep hearing good things about this book! It may have to make it to my wishlist.

    PS. I hope Blogger is treating you better today.

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I've been staying away from YA lately, but I think I'm ready to give it another try. I'll keep this one in mind.

  10. Precious - I really loved it as well, it was a really different type of read and that's always a good thing:)

    Krazzyme - It definitely is dark, but I always gravitate toward those types of reads:)

    Alison - It's not a genre for everyone - it's usually pretty bleak, but I love it:)

    Aylee - It does have a bit of an Ashfall vibe for sure - though not quite as heavy on the survival aspect. I just really enjoyed the world and characters:)

    Tiffany - Ember and Chase were fascinating I thought. I wanted to shake them sometimes and tell them to just talk to one another, but then I factored in the hurt on both sides and the loaded silence made sense.

    Mimi - Exactly. I hadn't read a dystopian in a while before I picked this one up and it brought everything I love about it back to the surface:) It definitely didn't disappoint me, I'm really excited to read the next book!

    Sam - I loved it as well, I got a good feel for it without being weighed down by too many details. I'm dying for book 2!

    Amanda - I thought it was great:) And Blogger seems to be behaving today. Though I may have just jinxed it.

    Jennifer - I usually have to take a break from YA every now and then as well, but if you like grittier books, then this is a great one:)

  11. I have heard such good things about this book. I am still in dytopian kick. Must read this book :)

  12. Love this book! I loved the details of Ember and Chase's past was intertwined into the story and made you see where their relationship started and what had happened to it. Can't wait for more of them in the next book! Thanks for the review!

  13. Another book that I keep hearing good things about. I already have it on my tbr pile. It's just a matter if I have time to get to it. The school year is winding down and things are getting crazy!

  14. i so loved this book and yes this is a jewel in my perspective

    hoping the world does not turn out like this in the future
    i can;t wait for book two

    great review

  15. Julie - I thought it was awesome, I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

    Sarabara - YAY! I loved the way we got snippets of their past as well, it kept me from being overly angry at Chase:)

    Rummanah - I can only imagine how crazy your schedule is with school, hopefully you can get to it over the summer!

    Roro - I'm hoping our world doesn't turn out that way either. *shudders*

  16. I love dystopian novels and I absolutely can't wait to read this one :) !! Thanks for the fabulous review Jenny :)

  17. Why does it feel like so long since I've read a really good dystopian novel? I don't think I was seriously considering this one for myself until this review, Jenny. Now that I know the betrayal runs deep on both sides, I want to know more about the how and whys of it.

  18. "we’re able recall that in times of emotional distress we’ve all been guilty of spewing hurtful words in the mistaken hope that our own pain will be expelled with them as they tumble from our mouths, a desperate attempt at self-preservation by verbally siphoning the poison infecting our systems into someone else."

    This is so amazingly true. It's horrible, but it's like it's the only way to get it out.

    Like Missie, it's been awhile since I've read a really good dystopian. Actually, I think I can count on one hand the ones I really like, and still not use all my fingers. I'm going to have to give this one a go. Maybe it will help me find my love of reading again.

  19. I just read Missie's comment and I am so with her. Honestly it has been a while since I read a good dystopian novel. I can feel myself craving one now

  20. I feel like Article 5 has kind of slipped past my radar. I mean, I know it came out recently, but I never felt compelled to check it out. Now I'm definitely interested! I love the sound of the story and characters. Fantastic review, Jenny! :)

  21. Elodie - You're welcome, hope you get to read it soon!

    Missie - It had been a while for me as well, and I just devoured this book as a result:)

    Jen - I know, it is horrible. I've been guilty of it many a time so I could understand where they both were coming from.

    Linda - I was definitely craving one before I read this and it hit the spot:)

    Lauren - I loved it! There were of course a few things that bothered me, but overall I loved the characters and world:)

  22. This girl is so incredibly vulnerable when it comes to Chase--you hit the nail on the head. And what they're talking about in this book really gave me the shivers, especially considering all the stuff that's going on re. women's reproductive rights and how studies are finding more conservatives turning away from science...*shudders at the possible future*

  23. I've read mixed reviews on this one, but I love the way you described it. I really like the sound of it having hopeful moments along the way and, even with the romance, it sounds like a believable one. Thanks for the review - I hope I can get to this one at some point!

  24. I've been hearing good things about this one, but I haven't checked it out yet. Generally dystopians are very hit and miss with me - I find many of them too slow moving, too bleak etc, but I might check this one out!

    This week I finally found the first YA dystopian I have ever been able to say I truly loved (Divergent) so I'm a little more excited about the genre now! Still haven't read The Hunger Games, though. lol!

    Great review, Jenny!

  25. This book is waiting for me on my Kindle. I havr read some greaf reviews. I was so glad to read that the author provides little slivers of hope amongs the rubble. I love a good dystopian but reading too many gets you down, especially during the winter. I think this sounds like a good one. Thanks for your lovely review :)

  26. I've really liked dystopians and I've been wanting to read this. You have just pushed it up the wishlist for me my dear.

    "a small gesture, kindness, or sign of resistance continually reminding us that amidst the ruins and rubble of a once great nation beauty still exists and compliance is only voluntary." I love that! Right there makes me want to get it immediately!

  27. Ooo, I'm so looking forward to this book--and 4 stars from you is very promising! It sounds like there are some quiet moments to be appreciated in the middle of action/dystopia, which is always a good thing.

  28. I find that really bleak dystopias tend to grab me more so I will have to keep this one in mind. Maybe I will wait until the second book comes out to give this a try since its a trilogy.

  29. I've heard this book is really good! Sounds like an awesome message too. Great review :)

  30. Lovely review Jenny! This dystopian book really caught my attention. I love the kindness that comes from the characters. It always brings a smile to my face :)

  31. Again, beautifully written review. This is the first review from someone I trusted that liked it. I may have to try it and judge for myself.

  32. Jenny,

    I'm Megan and am a student intern for FindTheBest. I love your blog and would like to feature you on FindTheBest's Blog Comparison for free. If you are interested, please email me at mfunk(at)findthebest(dot)com and I can send you the details!


  33. Awesome review, Jenny! I absolutely LOVE Article 5. The world-building, the characters, the setting, they were all awesome! I absolutely enjoyed reading Chase and Ember's story. Chase was absolutely swoon-worthy! Can't wait to read the sequel!

    So glad you enjoyed it, Jenny! ♥

    PS: I'm a new follower too! Absolutely love your blog!

    Celine @ Forget-Me-Not

  34. This sounds great, Jenny! Adding it to my shelf. :-)

  35. "There are times when we begin to get frustrated with the way Ember and Chase treat one another ... but before that irritation fully settles in, we’re able recall that in times of emotional distress we’ve all been guilty of spewing hurtful words ..." Uh huh. I thought the exact same thing, Jenny!

    I really enjoyed this one although I'm still not sure how the US ended up the way it's presented. It reminded me a little of Legend. Have you read that one, Jenny?

  36. I have this one on my shelves but I haven't quite got around to reading it yet. I'm very curious about this relationship between Ember and Chase. It sounds kind of intense! Great review, Jenny!

  37. I really enjoyed this book, and I'm so glad to see that you did as well! Ember and Chase were awesome characters, and I can't wait to read more about them in the next book. Hopefully the wait for us won't be too long!

  38. AHH, JENNY. I've missed hopping onto your blog. So much school stuff to worry about that I haven't had time to visit as many blogs as I'd like. But this review is exactly why I missed reading Supernatural Snark. I loved this book. The emotion captures your attention and connects you to the character in a beautiful manner, and I was invested from start to finish. I just absolute adore Ember and Chase and I'm so glad you did too! :D


  39. Wow..I'M SOO GLAD YOU ENJOYED THIS<3 I myself, liked it, though it didn't blow me away. But I certainly agree this is an outstanding debut & beginning to what I believe will be a fantastic trilogy. Amazing review, Jenny!

  40. Article 5 got me out of a pretty serious reading slump. I'm not saying it was the best book I've ever's more that it was new refreshing enough to catch my interest. Ember got on my nerves at times, and so did her relationship with Chase. There's little that's more frustrating than conflict that can be resolved by people simply communicating with each other.

  41. For some reason I REALLY loved this one. I just found the characters and circumstances so much more interesting than a lot of the other dystopians out there right now. Glad you mostly liked it as well. =)

  42. Dude!!! I just finished Article 5 this past week!!! I was completely taken by surprise by this one! I honestly didn't expect it to hit me like it did... I think it has a lot to do with the mother, because I would've been her. And I can't imagine... *hand covers mouth in horror*

  43. I love your review for this book. I have been wanting to pick it up but was not able to find it anywhere :/

    Kat @The Realm of Books