Reviewed by Tess van Brummelen
Chris Weitz is known as the director of films such as The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) and The Golden Compass (2007). The Young World is his first novel. The back states that it’s part of a new Young Adult trilogy, plus it mentions the story coming to the big screen. The novel is marketed as similar to the Gone series by Michael Grant (2008), which is one of the main critiques from the first readers. The story is not entirely original (as seen before in Lord of the Flies by William Golding in 1954 and TV series The Tribe in 1999). But who cares, as long as it’s well written and brings something new to the table, right?
The Young World sketches a future in which an unknown Sickness has wiped out everyone except teenagers. In New York, survivors have divided themselves into gangs. Five members of the Washington Square tribe set out to find a cure. Along the way they encounter cannibals, wild animals, militias, cults, guns and.. yes, love and friendship.
“A rifle-mounted lamp from the Uptowners’ guns catches us, and we dance between bullets that ring the steel support beams like giant chimes.” – p. 206
Although interesting, the action is so fast-paced you barely have time to appreciate it. What bothered me from the get-go, though, was the forced immature narrative, with phrases like: ‘teh internetz’, ‘big-ass’, ‘nom-nomming those apples’, ‘ovary-shriveling cold’. Not to mention, like, the approximately 1000 times the female protagonist, like, uses the word ‘like’. I think the theme and age of the characters should make a novel a YA genre, not its language. Trust me, teens do not want to be talked to childishly.
I did like the filmscript lay-out Weitz chose for dialogues (Jefferson: “…” / Brainbox: “…”).
The characters were hard to connect with. Furthermore, most characters were stereotyped (one blond sex-symbol, one Asian, one African-American homosexual who says things like “Jesus is my homeboy” and gives romantic advice like “Bitch, you need to think this through”). Weitz attempted to deal with social issues (rape and race for example), but emphasised them instead.
Altogether, The Young World has potential, fun ideas and plot-twists galore. The ending was neat, so I’m curious about the sequel, but I won’t read it. I’m positive lots of people will love this novel. Too bad I don’t recommend it.
You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.