All Good Children

  • Pages:312
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:dystopia, graffiti, revolution, freedom, individuality
  • Available:09/27/2016
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:650L
  • ATOS:4.1
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z+

It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens.

Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be "zombies" while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max's family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown's borders, Max's creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.

"Austen uses Max as a prism in this novel of ideas...A shaded morality tale about individuality."
– Kirkus Reviews
"An entertaining and creepy story...Austen keeps the story moving with a well-rounded supporting cast...and she adds enough detail to her world to make the plot believable...The social commentary and character development make it a worthwhile journey."
– Publishers Weekly
"Imaginative and affecting...A smart, polished novel, peopled with realistic characters in a well-developed, futuristic world...The books builds on cultural familiarity, resulting in an emotionally engaging work."
– Quill & Quire

"[If] you're looking for a great read for yourself or a teenager you know, Catherine Austen's novel All Good Children is an excellent choice...Austen provides many nuanced details of life in the near future, from facts on transportation and garbage disposal to the devastating effects of global warming. Strong characterization as well as a thrilling and horrifyingly plausible plot all combine to make All Good Children a wonderful read."

– Montreal Review of Books (MRB)
"In its use of race, gender, social class and technology, All Good Children can stand with the best of the [dystopian] genre."
– Resource Links
"I love this book! It's important and riveting. And somehow, miraculously, it manages to be deeply scary and funny at the same time."
"I would recommend this book to all dystopian lovers. I think this could hold its own in a competition with some of the most popular dystopian novels today."
– The Musings of a Book Addict
"Austen writes with cinematic definition, driving the action with taut dialogue and unremitting menace. By alternating recognizable adolescent struggles with dystopian horrors, she makes the threat of totalitarian mind control all the more visceral...Action-packed, terrifying, and believable, this entertaining novel will provoke important discussions about subservience, resistance, and individual freedom."
– Booklist

"Anyone who enjoys being taken out of their every day should find lots to recommend about All Good Children."

– January Magazine
"The book's stark view of humanity is buoyed by Max's witty commentary and his warm relationships with both his best friend and his little sister...Given Max's knack for getting out of a tight spot, [the book offers] an organic and satisfying conclusion to a harrowing tale."
– The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Austen's conflicts will resound with younger readers and her character development and theme will resound with older readers...Her treatment of the topic is new, scary and inspirational."
– TriState Young Adult Book Review
"The story is well-paced and has some interesting twists and turns. It's hard to tell who Max's allies and enemies are among the adults in the story, which adds to the level of suspense...This book has definite teen-appeal for both boys and girls."
– The Next Best Book Blog (TNBBC)
"The plot keeps the reader on edge...Skillfully, Catherine Austen ensures that Max is seen as a smart aleck kid who has moments of brilliance and compassion, helping the readers clarify their own perspectives on this new world and its way of doing things."
– CanLit for Little Canadians
"This book describes the thoughts and feelings of a 15 year old boy in a very real way...Austen shows great power in her research of teenage psychology...Another amazing factor is the integration of racial backgrounds. There are very few minority main characters in the YA genre and there need to be more...Congrats to Austen on a book well done!"
– The Epitome

"Delivered...heart-pounding intensity that left me turning the pages long into the early morning when I should have been sleeping. The characters in All Good Children are amazingly portrayed...One of the reasons this book impacts so hard is because of how attached you get to the characters. All the tension and anxiety bleeds through the pages and it's impossible not to cringe and laugh and want to cry."

– Escape Through the Pages
"The strengths of this dystopian novel include a creepy premise and Max's strong first-person narrative voice pointing out wry humour in the most dire of situations."
– The Horn Book Guide
"An imaginative work of dystopian fiction...Austen's novel is engrossing and deeply funny, and simultaneously important and frightening."
– Niles Daily Star
"The world that Austen has built is terrifying and chillingly easy to imagine, and she challenges her readers to think about issues of race, social class, gender and freedom."
– Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Canadian Children’s Book News
"Austen creates a believably scary dystopian society that is not too far removed from out own. Readers will find this novel a chilling introduction to the idea of government-initiated mind and behavior control, and they will cheer at Max's resistance, which is manifested not only in his attitude but also in his artwork."
– School Library Connection (SLC)
Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year   | 2012  |  Commended
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection   | 2012  |  Commended
Canadian Library Association (CLA) Young Adult Book Award   | 2012  |  Winner
Resource Links, The Year's Best Books   | 2011  |  Commended
Stellar Book Award   | 2013  |  Nominated
The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic   | 2012  |  Winner
Forest of Reading White Pine Award   | 2013  |  Short-listed
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Best Fiction for Young Adults   | 2013  |  Commended
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teen’s Top Ten   | 2012  |  Nominated