Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century—in a transformed America—the families of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state—removed from their homes and raised on Goodhouse campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a feral place—part prison, part boarding school—and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemer’s Church of Purity, has begun to target these schools for attack, with purifying fire.We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and everyone he’d ever known. In addition to entering a new school with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a wild tech genius with a heart defect who wants to save him, and her father, the sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse. Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry and the boys who lived and died in its halls, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will—and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.
This insomniac's opinion:
This is not a typical read for me. I do tend to gravitate somewhat to dystopian novels for mind-bending reads, but those that really veer towards Sci-Fi are not usually my bag. However, I was recently attending the Iowa City Book Festival with some of my bookish buddies and this author had a reading which we attending. The reading piqued my interest and I left the reading with a signed copy of this novel.
My immediate thoughts when starting this novel was that the writing was crisp and clear, which is not always the case for a debut author. The premise of the novel was unique and as the novel progressed there were many heart-stopping moments. However, the characters all could have been a bit more fleshed out and parts of the novel were simply not solid enough for me to suspend my disbelief at this dystopian, future world.
My overall takeaway thought was that this unique novel created deep thoughts within the reader of the serious ethical implications of rushing to judgement and pigeonholing an entire group of people. It is definitely worth the read if you enjoy a little dystopian fiction in your life.
Worth staying up all night to read?
It might be if you enjoy this type of novel.
3.5 stars, solid debut novel