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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 312
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 01/10/2011
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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.

School Library Connection - September 21, 2016
"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."
Brass Knuckle Book Reviews - February 16, 2015
"Max, the main character, is one of the most real teenage characters I can remember reading. He is angry and smart and artistic...Overall [the book] is a celebration of freedom and creativity. A dark but enjoyable read. Funny and disturbing at the same time! Buy it!"
Amy's Marathon of Books blog - April 8, 2014
"Sharply written...A complex piece of writing that explores the removal of rights from a society, causing them to lose the most precious thing of all, the innocence and joy of childhood and growing up. Such a serious topic is injected with wonderful moments of humour...All Good Children should be considered a classic dystopian read."
YA Book Shelf blog - May 14, 2013
"With its mixture of humor, foreboding, and great characters, All Good Children is a book that you won't regret picking up."
Canadian Children's Book News - August 1, 2012
"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."
Niles Daily Star - July 23, 2012
"An imaginative work of dystopian fiction...Austen's novel is engrossing and deeply funny, and simultaneously important and frightening."
The Horn Book Guide - May 1, 2012
"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."
Escape Through the Pages blog - April 1, 2012
"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."
YALSA YA Galley Teen Review - April 1, 2012
"A wonderful, awe-inspiring book that I really just could not stop reading."
The Epitome blog - January 12, 2012
"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!"
CanLit for Little Canadians blog - January 3, 2012
"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. "
Tri State YA Book Review Committee - January 1, 2012
"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."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books - January 1, 2012
"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."
January Magazine blog - November 27, 2011
"Anyone who enjoys being taken out of their every day should find lots to recommend about All Good Children."
Booklist - November 15, 2011
"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. Each of the book's three parts begins with a nineteenth-century rhyme that reflects society's insistence on childhood obedience, drawing a plausible through line from our history to the book's chilling premise. Action packed, terrifying, and believable, this entertaining novel will provoke important discussions about subservience, resistance, and individual freedom."
The Musings of a Book Addict blog - October 16, 2011
"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."
Resource Links - October 1, 2011
"In its use of race, gender, social class and technology, All Good Children can stand with the best of the [dystopian] genre."
Quill & Quire - October 1, 2011
"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."
Montreal Review of Books - October 1, 2011
"[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."
Publishers Weekly - September 19, 2011
"An entertaining and creepy story...Austen (Walking Backward) 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."
Kirkus Reviews - August 24, 2011
"Austen uses Max as a prism in this novel of ideas...A shaded morality tale about individuality."
The Next Best Book blog - January 3, 2011
"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."

Awards

Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2011 | Commended
CLA Young Adult Book Award  | 2012 | Winner
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year  | 2012 | Commended
YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee  | 2012 | Short-listed
YALSA Best Fiction for YA  | 2012 | Short-listed
Sunburst Award nominee  | 2012 | Short-listed
White Pine Award nominee  | 2013 | Short-listed
CCBC Best Books starred selection  | 2012 | Commended
Stellar Award nominee  | 2013 | Short-listed

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