Author: Steven Arntson
Details: ARC, published in Hardcover, 304 pgs.
Published: June 14th, 2011 by Running Press Kids
isbn: 0762439033 (ISBN13: 9780762439034)
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Young Henrietta is about to uncover a mystery she was never supposed to solve. In the new-age world she lives in, everything is ruled by computers, and every person's movements and actions are watched and analyzed. Henrietta feels suffocated by technology's rule and questions a world she's expected to blindly accept. She and her two newfound friends believe that there is more to life than what's expected of them—they just haven't found it yet.
That all changes when Henrietta finds a wounded Wild House Cat in the attic above her bedroom. This discovery sets off a chain of events that begin to poke holes in the secrets left behind by the well-hidden past. It also awakens a mysterious creature called The Wikkeling . . .
I wasn't sure what I would think of this book when I accepted it for review. But it being labeled a dystopian got my attention and I couldn't turn it down. I'm very glad I didn't because this was a fun and unique read. It also had a bit of a quirky tone to it that really made it even better!
This is set in our world in the future and everything is computerized and books are actually considered dangerous (mold can grow on them *gasp*). I got the giggles at times when reading because in school they have to type things like "Why swimming is dangerous", "Why running is dangerous", etc. Everything is way over the top about being safe. Now that's not the focus of the story at all, but we get to see it a bit when Henrietta goes to school.
This book definitely has a middle grade tone to it but even as an adult I found myself being okay with that and still enjoying it. The characters aren't real in depth (it IS middle grade) but we get to know them pretty well and their personalities are all interesting and unique. And they each grow quite a lot.
I think my favorite things about this book are how it shows us what we could become in the future if we become completely computerized. Books would become obsolete. And even when cities take over everything then there is no more wildlife at all. Just the world itself was very interesting. I also liked that this book was a touch fantasy. Not high fantasy at all, but just a touch and it was perfect! The book also has amazing illustrations scattered through it and has some entries, handwritten, from a Bestiary book that Henrietta gets from her grandfather. These journal like entries are about creatures and has illustrations included which I found to be very cool!
Overall this was really a great read and I recommend to anyone who enjoys dystopia, loves cats, enjoys a touch of fantasy and loves to read middle grade books.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I was not paid or influenced in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.
Please note that this book may change in some way from the advance edition I received.