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All Good Children

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  980 ratings  ·  181 reviews
It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, D ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Orca Book Publishers (first published January 1st 2011)
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All Good Children by Catherine AustenThe Way We Fall by Megan CreweDark Inside by Jeyn RobertsWitchlanders by Lena CoakleyGetting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
White Pine Nomination 2013
1st out of 10 books — 24 voters
Divergent by Veronica RothThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenCinder by Marissa MeyerLegend by Marie LuThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2012 YALSA Teen's Top Ten Nominations
74th out of 198 books — 364 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,873)
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Stephanie
My Summary: Life hasn't been what you'd call 'easy' for Max - ever since his father died three years ago, his mother, his sister, and himself have been forced to uproot their lives. Going from being filthy rich to just scraping by, Max is pretty angry about the way his life is - especially because people in New Middletown treat him like he's worthless now. Max strikes back with his art - sprawling graffiti scenes painted on every surface that will hold paint. Most would call him a trouble-maker, ...more
Cait
ALL GOOD CHILDREN by Catherine Austen has reminded me of what I want and like in a dystopian story, and delivered it with heart-pounding intensity that left me turning the pages long into the early morning when I should have been sleeping. It isn’t even the action in the book that’s so crazy; it’s the calm way events are accepted – no, wanted – by the majority of Middletown, and the anxiety being felt by those who are daring to oppose the system.

As someone who teaches elementary school kids day
...more
Christina Vasilevski
I bought this book about a week before the official release date because the author took part in Toronto's Word on the Street festival. Her reading of some of the opening text in conjunction with her explanation of how, after writing children's books for many years, she realized she was a closet dystopian fiction junkie sold me on the book.

Max is a gifted but rambunctious teenager living in one of the few safe havens after an unspecified economic and ecologic collapse in the 20th Century. Now, m
...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
Wow I did not know what to expect going into this story but was completely blown away with this book. Ok so I admit that through parts of it I was wondering where the story may be leading, the side characters became a little flat for me. But after finishing the story I realized that of course when people are being drugged to "behave" that of course they are going to become flat characters. Once this realization hit and I looked back over the story, color me impressed! I really enjoyed the idea, ...more
Kathy
I rather enjoyed this book about Max and his friends. They live in New Middletown, a company town of the great chemical company, Chemrose. Chemrose has developed a new shot that creates incredibly obedient, well behaved children. True, it's still rather experimental, but all the adults seem determined to believe it's the best thing since sliced bread. It intrieged me to see the early developement of a society, like that in BRAVE NEW WORLD or THIS PERFECT DAY, that so relied on its citizens takin ...more
Bailey
Rating: 3.5 stars

Yes, children from the ages 5-18 can be wild, and staff at school often have difficulty controlling us, but when it comes to how they control us, how far is too far? Max and his younger sister miss the first week of school, so when they come back they have no idea what happened. The children act strange at the elementary school. They are more obedient, more studious. Are they still themselves? And even more important, how did they become this way?

The premise of this story is lik
...more
Jessica
This book was just okay. I liked the writing style. It is very comfortable and natural, written in a convincing voice that I felt represented a fifteen-year-old boy realistically. I didn't really connect very strongly with any of the characters, though. I felt like most of the focus of this book was on teenage angst and antics rather than character or plot, which is what I'm most interested in when I sit down to read a book. As mentioned, this author does a good job of convincingly and realistic ...more
Jen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lawral
All Good Children is a great book. The world that Austen has created really is a whole lot like ours could be in, oh, 50 years (or less). The majority of the population is desperately poor and living in cars they cannot afford to fuel. The (what we now call) middle class minority works in some capacity with the booming elder care industry. Everyone has an RIG that connects them constantly to entertainment, work, communication, whatever (ie, it's what iPad aspires to be). A chemical spill has cre ...more
Rachel Seigel
This was a really well-written and thought provoking dystopian novel. I love the fact that the narrator is male, and he's got a really great voice. Intelligent, thoughtful and a bit of a smart-alek. I also like the way the friendship between him and Dallas- his best friend is drawn. There is enough background given to understand the world, but the actual story starts pretty quickly and is believeably creepy. While it doesn't end precisely on a nail-biting cliff-hanger, there is certainly an indi ...more
Rebel1
Jan 31, 2015 Rebel1 added it
Ok how do I put this? I'll get start to the point the story was boring and anticlimactic I WAS anticipating something extreme to the way the author wrote it. I was hoping that he would make a last minute break to save his sister from the government or somebody dies or something else AT LEAST SOMETHING. Nooooo Catherine Austen played it safe till the end. I like how Max is all touch guy with a soft side but, Max literally didn't do anything that made me think "Oh this character is so cool better ...more
Wisteriouswoman
I picked this book up at the library without realizing I read it before. I rarely read a book twice but I really got into the story since I didn't remember it very well. It captured my imagination so much that I stayed up late reading. The story was so powerful that it haunted my dreams. I wanted to help Max and his family escape before it was too late!

The dystopian part doesn't hold together very well. But it isn't based on reality and it has to appeal to teens so I can understand the emphasis
...more
Akantha
I thought this was a solid dystopian novel. It just felt minor-ly inconsistent.

It had a solid cast of characters, and again, though sometimes I thought their reactions were entirely appropriate, other times I felt they were too heavy-handed in their reactions. It might just because I expect my characters to be more rational, but I thought that Ally's reactions were usually a lot more rational than the older characters'. I think the author sometimes shows a great deal of skill in building up char
...more
Miss
i did not think i was going to like this book! i was wrong :D

ya's been overflowing with dystopia lately. the government bans love, the government controls your career, the government is extremely invested in your romance. some of these are better than others! what's been missing in quite a few though is the thing i like best in dystopias: the feeling that what happens could be a plausible development out of our existing society

basically i follow the definition of dystopias should be our world th
...more
Gil Segev
"All Good Children" is about a big-brother society within a city in America. Protagonist Max discovers that while he was away at his aunt's funeral all his classmates were given a vaccine that helps them improve at school (side effect: losing initiative that doesn't relate to school), and pretends to have been vaccinated while painting the inside of a tent (?). He smuggles his best friend Dallas, his single mom, and little sister through Freaktown, a place infamous for being hostile and horrible ...more
Kelly Little
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
A good YA dystopian novel about life in a "perfect" town after an epidemic of flu that has killed millions.

I found the plot interesting, although predictable. Just once, I'd like it to be the perfect child who saves the day - not the rebel.
Nimra
This book was amazing, it just nailed all the topics that are going around society right now. this book is about a 16 year old boy named Max, he loves graffiti, football and his family. He's one of those guys we all have met at one point or another you know the kind all- ways making people laughf, defending people who can't fight for themselves while having a bit of sass. When he goes to drop his sister at school he notices that the children are not behaving normally they were acting like "zombi ...more
Tanya
One of scariest stories I've read in a long time. I couldn't slow down reading it and now I'm sad it's over. The characters feel so real
Autumn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
I got this book out of the library as a bit of a random choice off the shelf. So worth it! Like many YA novels these days (some shitty, some shiny), this one is dystopic. It’s about a teenage boy who lives in a planned town in a society with many genetically-planned children who live carefully planned lives.

Max, the main character, is one of the most real teenage characters I can remember reading.

Read the rest of the review here!
Amber
This was a good read.

If you like dystopian fiction, like The Giver, then this will strike the same sort of nerve.

It's not too heavy (for dystopian fiction), but it does make you think. The possibility of it might even scare you.

Although, I refuse to believe that all parents would happily go along with the "treatment". Really, Max only knew 3 adults who were obviously not happy about the treatment. I kept thinking that Celeste must be upset about what happened to Xavier, but she seemed totally ok
...more
Debbie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jasmyn
Max, Ally and his mother live in a city called Middleton. Middleton is one of the few places left in the US with a decent school system, safe streets, healthy people, and little crime. But the administrators of Middleton think it could be even better. What if they found a way to get rid of misbehavior in children. Now, we're not talking about just the big ones like arson and fighting, but even the little ones, like giggling in class and expressing an opinion. As this is slowly taking effect on t ...more
Kathy
This book was in my summer reading pile but it got lost on my night stand table. I just discovered it a week ago again and decided to read it at the hockey arena. Thank goodness it was a practice because I could not put it down!

The story is dystopian with the angle that children need to be controlled in order to have a productive society. In order to control the children, they need to be "vacinated" with a drug that will alter their state of mind. No longer are children running wild in the playg
...more
Halli Lilburn
Best Book of 2011: All Good Children by Catherine Austen
New Middleton’s children are becoming frightfully obedient and their parents and teachers couldn’t be happier. Something is wrong. Max, our delinquent yet loveable rebel cannot allow himself to become another zombie and he’ll do anything to prevent it.
All teens have got issues, but within their brains amazing things happen. Mood swings and rebellion are accompanied with creativity and innovation. This book describes the thoughts and feeling
...more
Gmr
Dec 08, 2011 Gmr rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adult fiction fans
Recommended to Gmr by: LibraryThing
Can you imagine? A world where creativity is frowned upon and everyone is expected to simply line up, take their assignment and live life as they are told? Nah...never happen...right? I wouldn't be so sure. The world introduced by Ms. Austen isn't so far fetched. I mean, there are advantages to what they were trying to introduce....a more manageable society with potentially less crime and people living up to their supposed potentials. Not so bad.....well, except for that "supposed" part. I mean, ...more
Karen
I loved this book! From the minute I picked it up I just wanted to keep reading.

This is a dystopian novel about a family that lives in a well to do community. But with living in a well to do community comes with a price and that price is the 'vaccinations' the schools start giving to the students...but for what, do you ask?

Well, you tell me...Soon after getting these vaccines the students lose all emotion and personality. All of a sudden they are well behaved and say exactly the right thing. But
...more
Brian
well, i had no idea what this book was when i started it and figured it would be one that i read the first few pages and then delete it. thats right, i kind of almost actually read this book! (i read it on the kindle instead of audiobook that has been the recent rage.)

anyway, it was pretty gripping. i dont recall what year it was set it, but the future outlook of a united states that has devolved into fiefdom's based around geriatric centers and corporations seems plausible. walled communities w
...more
Shelley Daugherty
Maxwell Connors lives in New Middletown in the future. The United States has become divided and he lives in the better part of this world where education is still possible, and freedom comes at a premium. There are security cameras everywhere to keep track of all the citizens of Middletown and the school is no exception. But keeping watch over the citizens is the least of the ideas in this town; the powers-that-be want complete control...mind control.

Max first notices the strange behavior of the
...more
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3098906
I grew up in Kingston, Ontario. I studied political science at Queen's University and environmental studies at York before moving to the Ottawa area to work in the conservation movement. I now write freelance (reports as well as books) from my home in Quebec, where I live with my husband and two sons. I love wildlife, music, museums, and books and I'm grateful that my life is full of all of these. ...more
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“...it saddens me that she has to grow up and make friends with humans. I hear the future coming for her. Stomp, stomp, stomp.” 3 likes
“I can do it, Max. I still have my thoughts. I just can't say them out loud. I still have my friends. I just can't show them. I still have all the things that used to matter. They're inside of me. They can't take that away.” 2 likes
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