Cover image for The one safe place
Title:
The one safe place
Author:
Unsworth, Tania, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Young Readers, 2014.
Physical Description:
295 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
In a near future world of heat, greed, and hunger, Devin earns a coveted spot in a home for abandoned children that promises unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family, but Devin discovers the home's horrific true mission when he investigates its intimidating Administrator and the zombie-like sickness that afflicts some children.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
HL 670 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.2 16 Quiz: 63946.
ISBN:
9781616203290
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"What is this place?"

In a drought-stricken world, Devin and his grandfather have barely scraped out a living on their isolated farm. When his grandfather dies, Devin knows he can't manage alone and heads for the nearest city to find help. But in the city he finds only children alone like him, living on the streets. Then a small act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood--a place with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new home.

But Devin soon finds out that the Gabriel Penn Home is no paradise. A zombie-like sickness afflicts many of the children who live there--and it will claim Devin, too, unless he can become the first to find a way out of this dystopian nightmare.

"[A] chilling and engrossing tale . . . A standout." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Fast-paced and gripping. An original dystopian story." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"A timeless story that deserves to become a children's classic for decades to come." -- The Christian Science Monitor

A Summer 2014 Kids' Indie Next List Pick
One of the Christian Science Monitor's 25 Best New Middle Grade Novels of 2014


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The story of Hansel and Gretel gets a dystopian sci-fi revamp in Unsworth's ominous offering. Devin has just buried his grandfather, which forces him to leave the fertile valley of his farm and venture out into the drought-plagued, food-scarce world. After befriending fellow street urchin Kit, the two are discovered by a young man who invites them to a place where food, water, and diversions are in abundance. Indeed, the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood seems to be just that, crawling with well-fed kids hoping to be adopted by the elderly visitors. But then Devin and Kit learn of the Place, where every few weeks, they receive a shot and disappear into a dream for two days. Something is rotten, and they need to figure it out before their brains become spoiled. Mostly this book acts as a protracted wait for the big reveal, without much in the way of detail or characters. But the wait is delicious, and the reveal is plenty icky, making this a page-turner perfect for fans of Mike A. Lancaster.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In her first book for children, Unsworth takes readers inside the sinister and secretive world of the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood-a refuge for specially chosen orphans in a bleak, scorching, and none-too-distant future. Devin has spent his young life on a secluded farm, "a pocket of richness" in an otherwise dry wasteland, with his grandfather. After his grandfather dies, Devin leaves for the city in order to survive. There he meets Kit-a girl with a dark past and quick, thieving hands-and Roman, who lures them both to the Home. With a photographic mind and heightened senses, Devin immediately suspects foul play at the Home, despite its extravagance and the too-good-to-be-true amenities it has to offer. Unsworth unravels the story with skilled deliberation, creating a page-turning mix of suspense, intrigue, and anxiety. The kids are genuine and quirky, just the right kind of mismatched misfits to snag readers' hearts. This is a wholly enjoyable journey, and a dystopian vision with some great new twists. Ages 10-up. Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Twelve-year-old Devin's loss of his grandfather leaves him unprepared to take care of their formerly self-sufficient farm-one of the precious few left on the face of the earth. He leaves this oasis hoping to find some willing hands to help him keep the farm going. Instead, the people he meets in the city are so devoid of morals or compassion that when Devin and his new friend, Kit, have a chance to go to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood, they seize the opportunity. It isn't long before Devin senses that this home is a little too good to be true. Though surrounded by amusements, beautiful grounds, and plenty of food, the other children are morose, nervous, and listless. Occasionally Devin runs across a child acting in a bizarre, disoriented fashion, yet he is advised by the other children to completely ignore these episodes and never mention them again. The Administrator of this institution interviews Devin and informs him that he is gifted in ways he never understood. His five senses overlap-for instance, visually perceived objects have accompanying sounds only Devin can hear. The Administrator closes the interview with the sinister words, "I'm saving you for something special". This book is reminiscent of Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (HarperCollins, 1992). The suspense and dread build as the mystery gradually unfolds, but it stops short of becoming truly horrific. The conclusion is fast-paced and gripping. An original dystopian story for middle-grade readers.-Kathy Cherniavsky, Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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