Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: The Limit by Kristen Landon

Can you imagine a world where adults are given a spending limit and if they go over the limit, the government takes their children away to a workhouse to work off the debt?  Well, Matt can.  This is exactly what happened to him.  His parents were irresponsible with their spending and now he is paying for it.  Fortunately for Matt, his mathematical and problem solving abilities helped him test very high and he ended up working on the top floor with a posh room to himself, an indoor pool and even an arcade!  Matt starts to realize that things are not what they appear to be and is determined to unlock the secrets behind the workhouse but not everyone is happy with his snooping and escape attempts.  When Matt’s younger sister appears at the workhouse as well, he knows he has to do something to stop the madness.

I picked this book up at a book festival where Kristen Landon happened to be selling and signing books.  I thought her book sounded interesting and I’m always looking for new, great middle grade books to recommend to my kids and others so I picked it up.  I’m so glad I did.

Kristen Landon has done a great job at writing a middle grade novel that introduces kids to the dystopian genre.  The story moves along quickly.  I found Matt to be a very believable thirteen year old character, displaying traits typical to that age.  Booklist and School Library Journal give a recommended reading level of 6th-10th grade, and the book says ages 9-12.  I thought this was spot on.  The story is easy to follow and understand.  If you have a reluctant boy reader in this age group, this might be just the book for him.

Knowing and understanding that this is a middle grade book, the adult in me, in the end, still wished for more development and in-depth exploration into this idea.  What happened in society that people accepted the idea of limited spending enforced by the government?  And a consequence of having your children taken away if you go over your limit by even one cent?  Wow.  How did government gain such control?  Why did people just allow this to happen?  I almost wish Kristen Landon would re-write this book as a YA fiction and give me some more meat and potatoes!  J

The book wraps up nicely without leaving you hanging or wondering like so many YA or adult series.  That was kind of nice.  I especially appreciated that this book is squeaky clean and I can happily pass it on to any of my kids.

Here is a book trailer for The Limit
You can find out more about Kristen Landon here.


  1. Thanks for posting the trailer! I shared this book with a 6th grade boy last spring- he wanted to be reading all those books for older kids- and when he read this, he was so excited! I agree with you that this book is a great way to introduce the dystopian fiction to tweens! (Not too scary or bloody or sexy!)

  2. This sounds like a book I would definitely enjoy, although, you're right, probably would love it more if there were a bit more to it. That said, it does sound like a perfect introduction to dystopian fiction. Great book!

  3. This sounds pretty cool. I would probably feel the same way about character and world development, though. Great review!

  4. The premise of this book sounds interesting.


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