PJV Quickie: THE YOUNG WORLD by Chris Weitz is one of those books that in your head, you know it is Ridiculous – you caught my capitol R on that one? – but you find the novel entertaining to read. Or at least I did. From the overdone premise, to obvious inspiration from classic YA dystopian novels, to teens all talking like college age hipsters trying to impress one another with their intellect – to stereotypical dystopian characters…THE YOUNG WORLD wasn’t what I would call impressive, but I did find some of the inner monologue hilarious.
Review: In this dystopian world, a virus has targeted Adults and Children, leaving only teenagers behind. A dystopian theme we’ve seen in a few other novels. Fortunately Weitz explains this killer virus a little better then his other counterparts, claiming a certain hormone was what kept the teens safe. The surviving teens are running amok. Total amokness. Yet in the midst of this adolescent driven insanity, a group of morally sound and responsible teens have gathered in Washington Square, led by a young man named Jefferson, who happens to have a BIG crush on a girl named Madonna (Donna for short). The teens get it into their heads that they can save the world, first by finding an article in a scientific journal and then by traveling to an island not far from New York City.
One of those “On the Road” type dystopians, the group encounters the quintessential dystopian road blocks along the way…the cannibals, the evil white slave traders, the rapists, the one dude bent on tracking the group down and killing them – no – matter – what and then finally the crazy drugged out type of cult group. The book was rather unoriginal, even though the dialogue and inner monologue of the characters was entertaining and made the book worth the read.
The book was split between the two main characters, Jefferson and Donna. Jefferson was this ultra-smart, nerd, but a butt-kicking ninja with a six-pack…who’s inner monologue sounded like it belonged to a fifty-year-old. He was fun, but a little unrealistic in his mannerisms. His insight into political and human psychology just did not fit his character. He’s thinking about saving the world and then the next moment “does Donna love me?” Then let’s go have sex with this other girl…was also a bit confusing.
Then there was Donna’s voice, which was more teen-like, with silly phrasings, constant use of “like” and a cray cray thrown in every now and again for teen emphasis. But, in between her dumb chatter, she also showed mature insights into socioeconomics. Which again didn’t ring true. So, between the characters that “didn’t talk right” and the unoriginal themes, you get yourself a middle of the road dystopian. I’ll read on in the series – but don’t expect me to be waiting patiently for the next title. I really think Weitz should have written an adult apocalypse novel, instead of a YA dystopian. Weitz’s intelligence is obvious, his writing is also top notch. I think he was penned in with writing “the next great YA dystopian” and this idea would have really blossomed with an adult setting.
Recommendations: For fans of THE LOST BOYS here is an updated version, mixed with more modern dystopian tropes to keep things fresh. Oh and a girl for romance. Mature themes, 14+ rating.