Monday, August 2, 2010

Fight Back: H.S. Booktalk 2

Marena is a teenager in a country, probably our own, ruled by the Zero Tolerance Party, which is the only political party, under which it is perfectly legal to arrest anyone at any time for anything. It is a country now ruled by fear, oppression, and ruthless indoctrination. At Marena’s school, which is actually run much like a prison, Marena and her classmates are forced to read [almost religiously] from a huge red tome called the Commemorator. But Marena is having a hard time being a true believer. Her mother, whose memory she clings to even as it fades, was captured and probably killed by the state for protesting their lack of rights. Marena’s a lot like her mom, and so are her two close friends - Eric and Dex. The three of them have been sneaking off their fenced-in compound to a secret, abandoned, empty old building they found - a place where they can be themselves and dream of resistance. However, there are signs that there is another group of resisters trying to make inroads at their school. Unfortunately, one must be extremely careful in this police state to make zero mistakes: punishment entails [among other things] a brain operation which causes you to lose the ability to read, write, or speak. And Marena, Eric, and Dex have been sloppy. Marena may have trusted someone she thought would never betray her, especially to the authorities. She now runs the risk of becoming just like her mother: one of the “disappeared.” The Silenced by James DeVita is about fighting back against a government which has zero tolerance for basic human rights.

The Silenced by James DeVita. Grades 7 up. 512 p. HarperTeen, 2007.

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