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A Reader of Fictions: American Idiot - Green Day

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, August 4, 2012

American Idiot - Green Day

Article 5
Article 5, Book 1

Author: Kristen Simmons
Pages: 362
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Won in Giveaway from Katie McGarry

Description from Goodreads:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

First Sentence: "Beth and Ryan were holding hands."

You know what's awesome? When a book totally grips you from the beginning to the end. There was seriously not a moment of Article 5 where I was not totally into the story. Kristen Simmons definitely had me right where she wanted me. Article 5 has tons of action, as well as world building that I can totally get behind AND a rocking heroine. Hell to the yes.

Article 5 falls into the vein of dystopias that clearly stem from our modern society. The direct correlation to forces at play in current politics makes this a great read-a-like for Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. In Simmons' horrific future, the fundamentalists have taken over, after various factors caused problems. The country is policed by the FBR, also known as the MM (Moral Militia). Women are being forced back into a subservient role: wives and mothers. There is talk of no longer allowing women to take math, for example, because what use is that to ladies? Women must wear appropriate clothing. All sorts of reading materials (ex. romance novels) and actions (ex. doing anything romantic outside of marriage) are prohibited.

Even more horrifying, the military now has such power that trials for crimes are becoming a thing of the past. Even if a trial is planned, nobody looks to closely if a 'criminal' dies in an 'escape attempt' or something of that sort. Not only that, but you can now be held responsible for something done years before. Take, for example, our heroine's mother, arrested at the beginning of the book for having a child out of wedlock. Note that the child she had is 17 year old Ember. The law didn't exist when Ember was born, but it's written now, so off to jail you go.

Ember was a wonderful heroine. She has so much personality and I really felt like I knew her. Told in the first person from her perspective, I just loved the way Ember thought and phrased things. She has a sarcastic and occasionally off-the-wall humor that I really appreciate. I thought the storytelling was effective, and that, though I knew Ember best, I did get a hint of depths to some of the other more minor characters.

What I really love about Ember as a heroine is how ordinary she is. Now, she is cleverer than average and definitely braver, but she has no special physical skills or powers to aid her in her quest to save her mother from prison. Despite that, Ember is a force to be reckoned with. She fights back, even when that is really not the advisable action. Ember cannot NOT act when someone does something to her. She does not take abuse quietly. She stands up for herself first and foremost, and sometimes or others. The selfishness underlying most of her actions I really liked too, because, let's be honest, that's how she's going to have a chance of surviving.

Plus, her personality made the romance stand out from the ordinary YA relationships. Though on the surface, we have an obvious match with Chase and Ember, childhood sweethearts torn apart by his induction into the MM. Whereas most YA heroines when reunited with the strong, tall, gorgeous Chase would forgive him his trespasses and do whatever he asked, like good girls do, Ember does not trust him at all. Any trust he gets from her has to be EARNED. She knows well that just because she loved him before does not mean he is the same person now.

Chase and Ember's relationship appeals so much more to me because of the realistic way in which she views it. Though she's drawn to him, she can resist him. She can think logically in the face of his presence. She can use him to get what she needs. She listens to him when it's in her benefit, but also will disobey his orders if she feels that necessary. Despite his training and strength, she always does what she can to fight and comes up with great ideas, rather than expecting him to protect her.

Article 5 is chock full of action, awesome characters, sassy writing and a horrifying dystopian society that I dearly hope never comes to pass. Book two, Breaking Point, should probably make its way to my hands immediately; I want it like BURNING.

Favorite Quote: This quote is Ember talking about her favorite book, Frankenstein: "'He's not really a monster, anyway,' I said. 'It's everyone else that makes him that way because he's different. It's sad, you know? How people can tear you down like that. How you try to do the right thing but you just can't."

"Don't wanna be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.

All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn't meant to be okay

Remember: Every comment on a post during Dystopian August is an entry to win one of fourteen dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels IF you've filled out the form from this post.

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Blogger Lilian said...

Article Fie was one of those books that I was excited to release/read...then kinda faded away from my consciousness.
I think the grey, boringness of the cover was to blame.

Since it's on my TBR, I went on skim mode.

"Though she's drawn to him, she can resist him. She can think logically in the face of his presence. She can use him to get what she needs. "
Now that's the kind of heroine I like: the kind that has men around her finger. *evil smirk*

not sure what sassy writing entails.

Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

August 4, 2012 at 2:20 AM  
Blogger Giselle said...

Haha when I read the post title i was like.. uh oh, she totally hated this >.< I'm glad you loved it! It was such an exciting book! I also found it very scary and not at all improbable which makes it much more compelling to read. And now I got the Green Day song in my head! Thanks, love! :P

August 4, 2012 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Nori said...

I thought you were going to hate it too because of the song title! Ha. But the song title makes sense for all the awful people in the story! I really want to read this now!

August 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Bekka said...

I'm with Giselle - I totally thought you hated it based on the song you picked!

I wasn't really sure what this was about and the cover didn't really stand out to me (I know, I know.) It didn't really make its mark on me and I sort of forgot about it. When I get through my massive review pile, maybe I'll check it out.

August 4, 2012 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I like the cover, but I do see what you mean.

I wouldn't say she QUITE has him wrapped around her finger, but it's close and she's certainly not under his thumb.

Lol. I guess I'm not either. That is a weird combo, but I'll roll with it. Basically, the tone was so sassy, because Ember had so much personality and her personality equals SASS. The writing conveys that, therefore it must be sassy, right?

August 4, 2012 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh man, that totally could have been the case. Occasionally, I do choose a song just because it explains how I feel about the book, but, in this case, I just thought it fit. I thought this one was awesome! And way too probable! Ahhhhh!

August 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Nope, totally enjoyed it! I am tricksy this way!

August 4, 2012 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Woo! I would recommend checking it out. Man, I need to be careful with certain songs apparently. Haha. I didn't even think about that.

August 4, 2012 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger aLilLacey said...

So I'm fairly new to your blog and can i just say i like your song picks for your reviews. Way creative. And this book sounds like on that i would be interested in and my husband. We always talk about what if government were different and things like that. Adding to goodreads!

August 4, 2012 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awwww, yay! Naming posts for songs was a concept I had from the beginning, and sometimes I question how good of an idea that was, so I'm so thrilled to hear it works for some folks!

This one's so much fun! You guys would also want to look into Doctorow's Little Brother!

August 4, 2012 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger M.A.D. said...

Had this one on my birthday wish list and was hoping I'd get it, but no such luck lol

Really glad to hear you liked it throughout the entire novel, that means a lot when a story manages to be exciting all the way to the bitter end. And now you're telling me there's book #2 Breaking Point on the horizon? My book radar must be getting *dusty* ;P

August 31, 2012 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Breaking Point comes out sometime next year. January or February, I can't remember which.

I've seen some varying reviews on this one, but I, clearly, ate it up.

August 31, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Christy Maurer said...

First off...love Green Day! Second...I NEED this book! It sounds so good. I love that her mom is arrested even though the crime takes place before the law was in effect. Sounds like something that could totally happen. I'll be adding this to my ever growing list of to reads!

August 31, 2012 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay for the Green Day love and the wanting to read this! Hope you enjoy!

September 4, 2012 at 8:46 AM  

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