Article 5

Article 5 Book Cover Article 5
Article 5, Book 1
Kristen Simmons
Juvenile Fiction
Tor Teen

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back. Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.



“Article 5” is a dystopian novel that is set in a world where a super-charged version of the moral majority has taken over in a civil war.  Ember is forcibly removed from her home for committing the “crime” of being born out-of-wedlock.  When she is arrested by the former boyfriend who was drafted into the military, her entire world seems to fall apart.

This was a terrifying book for me and a good cautionary tale against becoming overzealous with ruling by morality alone.  What I would have liked to see more of was the backstory of how the war started and why they ended up in such a dire governmental system.  The book would have been much more enjoyable had those explanations been present, but I am holding out hope that it is covered in the next installment.

Ember is a character about whom I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, she has led a sheltered life in one very small section of a city, only to be suddenly yanked into a very terrifying world.  On the other, she seems hellbent on not trusting Chase, who can reasonably expect to be changed due to traumatic circumstances.  The problem is that she does not bother to ask, or believe a word or action from him, and it became frustrating to me.  She is an intelligent girl, so writing her with such a slow ability to adapt in some areas while adapting quickly in others was very out of character.

The action is what makes me want more.  It was fast-paced and intense.  Lots of questions are unanswered, but the end of the book and change in character awareness make me want to know more.  I have high hopes that the next book will build on the improvements found at the end of this one.  The writing is solid and obviously from a talented author who has the potential for great storytelling.


Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Sexual Situations

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