A dystopian novel for today. Governcorp has taken over the United States, Broadcasters are ubiquitous and immigrants can't be trusted. Fifteen-year-old Hannah, a new citizen, and thirteen-year-old Jenny, a future safety officer, have nothing in common. But it's Jenny's job to make sure Hannah follows the Governcorp citizenship rules-especially to carry and use a Protector properly. Having a Protector is supposed to keep you safe, and help you keep others and your community safe. Protect yourself; protect your property; protect community property; protect your friends, family and fellow citizens-that's what the Governcorp rulebook says. And what Jenny believes with all her heart. Hannah wants to be a good citizen, for her family and for her father who worked so hard to gain citizenship for them-but for someone who grew up in the Homestead, Protectors mean something else entirely to her: fear and Governcorp control. She doesn't want to carry one and she doesn't want to use one, but she has no choice. As she navigates what it means to be a citizen, she finds herself part of a rebellion that questions the rules. But when questioning the rules leads to breaking them, she'll have to rely on Jenny for help. And Jenny's idea of being a good citizen is very different from Hannah's... "Gripping, disturbing, suspenseful and well-crafted, this book will appeal to reluctant teen readers as well as avid reading enthusiasts. Believable and engaging teenage characters and their relationships are at the heart of the story and Jenny and Hannah, the two teen protagonists, experience the mystery and fun of romance as well as the challenge of survival in a totalitarian state. The question that keeps recurring in this book is, what is the best way to act in a brutal and repressive society? Should one simply go along with the crowd and ignore the dissonance between reality and what the government says? Should one peacefully protest for the redress of grievances, or should one become part of a violent revolution and use any means to topple the establishment? The Good Citizen shows there is no simple or easy answer. Reminiscent of Orwell's 1984, this is a memorable book which deserves to be read, especially by those who want to be good citizens in a corrupt and confusing world." P. Karkainen, Independent Reviewer
The Good CitizenFeatured
In a futuristic society that oppresses immigrants and requires citizens, including children, to use guns to enforce the laws, two teenage girls from completely different backgrounds must question everything about the society they live in to save the people they love.
What I loved:
I’m fond of stories that are told in dual first person if they’re done well. Jenny is a citizen who dreams of going to the Academy and becoming a safety officer like her mother. Hannah is the daughter of immigrant parents who just achieved citizenship. They meet in school and from there, both affect each other’s lives in ways neither could have imagined. Both together and separately, they discover that there is something inherently wrong with the society they live in. As their lives and those of those closest to them begin to crumble around them, they realize playing by the rules is not always the way to go. The plot builds to a thrilling ending, and I found myself turning page after page to get there.
Joel Doty’s writing style is crisp, with not much waste or fluff, and the rapid back-and-forth between the two girls’ perspectives is engaging and well-written, and the dialogue rang true for their ages (13 and 15).
What I didn’t love:
Honestly, not much. I did have to suspend my disbelief that a society can reach this point, where children are encouraged to not only carry guns but use them on another person who they merely suspect of breaking the law. (With the way things are going in the real world, however, such a society is not as hard to believe as it used to be.)
My Final Verdict:
The Good Citizen is an excellent read for those who enjoy dystopian, coming-of-age stories, or just a good YA suspense thriller. I’m not sure if this book will be a standalone or part of a series, but regardless, it’s a great story.