Book Review: Article 5

Article 5
Narrated By: Jenny Ikeda
Published By: Recorded Books
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Audio Length: 10 hours, 45 minutes
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

On The Story & Writing:

I'm not typically a fan of Dystopians - The Hunger Games has ruined me for anything else in that genre. Its so hard to live up to that one. So, I got this from the library on a whim, not really expecting much. I ended up finding that I do like this genre if there is a unique perspective. Article 5 appeals to the historian and political scientist in me. War has led to a complete upheaval and restructuring in the United States. The Bill of Rights no longer exists and citizens are forced to follow the rules set forth in The Moral Statutes. Those who violate the statutes are apprehended by the Moral Militia and are rarely seen again. Many violators are executed after a sham of a trial while others are found worthy of rehabilitation. 

Ember Miller finds herself caught up in the political mess when Article 5 is revised making it illegal for unwed mothers and their children to remain free. Ember and her mother are rounded up and shipped off. I thought it was interesting that Simmons chose to go this route. In current society, there is so much disagreement and conflict over the "proper" family structure. Its scary to think that something like this could one day come to pass - where families are targeted for being immoral in the eyes of the law. I have to admit that this whole book really freaked me out because it is by far one of the most realistic Dystopians I have read. So many of them include things that seem far fetched, but not this one. It provides a lot of food for thought.

In addition to the political issues and connection to modern issues, I really enjoyed the dynamics of Ember and Chase. These two have such an interesting (yet often dysfunctional) relationship. Watching their relationship evolve as the plot continues to throw up barriers was one of the best elements of this novel. Despite both of them being damaged, I couldn't help but root for them. You want these characters to succeed even though the odds are firmly stacked against them.

One problem I often have with books in a series is that the ending can often leave me unsatisfied with some major cliffhanger. I hate that! The time between books is excruciating when that happens. Luckily, Simmons doesn't do that to her readers. She does leave you wanting more, but there is some resolution with this one. I felt okay with the end - there was no wanting to smash this book or curse the author for leaving me in such an uncomfortable predicament. Granted, she has left us with much to ponder for the next book, but she did it in a way that didn't leave me hanging. I appreciate that, Kristen Simmons!

On The Audio:

Jennifer Ikeda did a great job narrating this one. I liked how she differentiated her voice for the various characters and added some personality to each one. She truly brought Ember and Chase alive for me.

One Last Gripe: There were some moments that dragged a bit for me so I couldn't give it a 5. I also found some of the "twists" to be a little bit predictable.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Learning about the brewing resistance movement

First Sentence: Beth and Ryan were holding hands.

Favorite Character: Chase

Least Favorite Character: Ms. Brock

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.


  1. A good cliffhanger? I really should read this book.. I quite like hanging off cliffs. ;D

    In all seriousness, I guess I really should add this to my tbr pile. I've been hearing so many great things about it!

    -Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

    1. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did since Dystopians generally are not my thing, but I loved the writing. This is also one of the ones that freaked me out because it seems the most plausible.


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