Matt lives in a society in the not-too-distant future. Families, school, and hobbies look similar to some present-day cultures. Each family is given a spending limit, and if families exceed that amount, the oldest child is sent to a work house until the debt is re-paid. When Matt's family goes over the limit, Matt is sent to a work house and tested to find out what kind of work would be best suited for him. His cell phone and email don't work, so he is cut off from his family and friends. Will he ever be able to work hard enough to get his family under the limit?
This book will appeal to many readers. Matt's work assignment includes some luxury perks, including a pool and a gym, so there is an interesting dynamic of being on vacation, even while unsettling things are happening. The book is fast-paced and includes a little romance and a fair bit of action. Many of the children are shown to be more responsible and well-intentioned than adults. Although it lacks the depth of books like The Giver, it offers discussion opportunities about financial responsibility, fair consequences, and what an ideal society might look like.
" Right. Like what's in the kid's best interest matters to anyone in the government."
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