The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Genre: Dystopian, Adventure, YA
Incerpt from the back of the novel: "When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is empty. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open,Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they've closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark.
The Gladers weren't expecting Thomas's arrival. But the next day, a girl is sent up-the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might find their way home... wherever that may be. But it's looking more and more as if the Maze is unsolvable. And something about the girl's arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers-if he can only find way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind."
So, I have been wanting to read this novel for a long time because it's dystopian, and for some reason, I really like end-of-the-world, not-everything-is-as-it seems books. And be forewarned, this novel is a series, and you have to keep reading them to understand everything. I liked how it pulls you into the world pretty quickly, and there is a lot of action to keep you hooked to the story.
It was a little frustrating, however, that there are so many things that the characters, and thus, the reader, doesn't know. I spent most of the book asking what was happening, just like Thomas. But there are some answers toward the end, although only enough for the reader to feel a little satisfied, and nothing is fully answered in this first novel.
The plot reminds me a lot of The Hunger Games because other people are playing with the characters' lives, except that these characters know nothing about what's going on. I felt sorry for them because such horrible things were happening to them and they didn't know why, but it's amazing how tough they are and how much they long to survive. I give it a 3 and recommend it to highschool age and up and for anyone who likes action and dystopian novels.
And check out James Dashner's website. It's really cool.
What I learned: Humans have a strong sense of survival, and true loyalty and love is being willing to lay down your life for a friend (which sounds a lot like what Jesus did).