Friday, July 14, 2017

Throwback Friday and Teen Reviewer: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This summer we'll be highlighting some of our older faves that you might have missed. Today recent grad (yay!) Mira shares a standout she's recently revisited:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner 

When he wakes up on a dark, rattling elevator traveling rapidly upwards, Thomas has no idea who he is, where he is, or how he got there. The elevator opens in the Glade, a sort of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games dystopian hell. The Glade is populated by teenage boys, all of whom arrived the same way Thomas did, with the same absence of memory. They’ve created a society of sorts, with governable rules and systems, and they receive medicine and supplies each week through the elevator from some unknown location and benefactor. 

The Glade is boxed in by four concrete walls, outside of which lies the Maze. The doors to the Maze open each morning and close every night. Since they first arrived, these “Gladers” have been scouring the maze, searching for an escape. But the walls making up the maze’s path change every day, creating new obstacles. 

The day after Thomas arrives in the Glade, another person is delivered through the elevator shaft. Theresa is the first girl to be sent to the Glade, and her arrival generates new and surprising developments that disrupt the Gladers way of life. Supplies stop being delivered, the sun disappears, and the doors to the Maze remain open at night, causing deadly interactions between the Maze’s creatures and the boys in the Glade. 

I read this book in middle school, and again more recently after lending it to my younger brother. Dashner’s vivid imagery creates a dangerous and terrifying dystopia that is difficult to forget. I found the themes of survivalism and cooperation in the face of tragedy to be even more moving when read at 19 than at 12. For anyone looking to revisit the fantasy novels of the early 2000s, I would definitely recommend Dashner’s series! 

More to read:

Notes from Y'allFest: James Dashner Keynote Edition

Nil by Lynne Matson

Teen Review: Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

Middle School All Stars Week: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Middle School All Stars Week: York by Laura Ruby

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