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All Good Children

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,437 ratings  ·  227 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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Potato Apparently the nesting program is scheduled for all the children in America. The 'Withstand' has zero impact on the plot whatsoever.

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  1,437 ratings  ·  227 reviews


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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
I used to read but now I don't It's bad I know

To use one of the novel's own themes, it's a metaphor.


Being dystopian, this novel is primarily an allegory of how our lives totally suck today, and, I suppose, of how they've sucked before Christ. Ironically, the reason this novel is such a pessimistically flat read is because it offers no hope, when the quote on the back cover I suppose is supposed to be some sort of gritty paradox that ultimately unveils some empowering truth about life. (It doesn't.) Ok, it's not an exact parallel. They've t
...more
Lina
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Oh how I like me some interesting Dystopian fiction. I like it even more when said Dystopia is caused by chemical corporations. And Catherine Austen gets double points for the portrayal of a teenage boy that well, feels like a teenage boy.

But I get ahead of myself. Maxwell Connors lives in New Middletown with his mother and sister. New Middletown is centered around Old folk homes, which are big business in the future. Built, owned and managed by Chemrose. The people who live in New Middletown ar
...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
Jen
Aug 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meagan Houle
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
It wasn't hard to get lost in "All Good Children," both because the pacing was excellent and because no matter how hyperbolic the story got, it always remained compelling. By the end, a few tears had fallen and I was more than able to disregard the more incredible bits for the sake of such a stirring conclusion. The publisher's blurb made the book seem like a middle-grade novel, but it surprised me with its visceral violence and genuine complexity.
For me, the only thing that shook me out of the
...more
K.A. Wiggins
Interesting, detailed and well-developed dystopian exploration of the future of education and corporate trends by way of a smart, artistic and angry teen. While the narrative perspective was well maintained and it didn't get preachy, there's a clear message of vigilance against current trends, and like a lot of dystopian fiction, it extrapolates current trends to an alarming place. Not an overt rebellion story a la Hunger Games or Divergent, but more of a growing awareness and opting out/escapi ...more
Rachel Seigel
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Cassie
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fourth-quarter
:-)D SUPER creepy and very motivating, this is a story I'll never forget.
JaceB8a
This book is very good, and has a lot of twists.
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
Bailey
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopian
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
Lawral
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned, ya, 2011, arc
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
Kathy
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Sarah
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
val
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it


an interesting and honestly terrifying story, as this depiction of the future does not seem incredibly implausible to me.

i enjoyed the description of high school hierarchy and max's relationships with his friends. i also liked that the realisation that a treatment was occurring and what it was, was a slow progression. it made this setting feel grounded and ally's observations felt very real.

small things like IDs (identifications) not being capitalised and school levels being referred to as gra
...more
Heather Law
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I wasn't sure how I would like the book at first, because so much YA stuff is all just love triangle, and I didn't want anymore of that. This book beat my expectations in all the best ways. It all takes place in a time before the revolution, so it's when things start going bad, and I had never seen a book like this. It captures the feeling of a dystopian novel; the ideas that you are helpless, and that the machine will eat you up without noticing. The characters are also really interest ...more
Laura Guilbault
Really enjoyed the story, but a couple of the characters annoyed me. I thought that Austen's description of Maxwell Connors' future was very well thought-through, and possible. I also really liked the Freakshow reality TV detail; it brings up good discussion points.
I did not like the main character very much, and I found that the adults in the story should have and would have reacted differently. The ending, as well, was too short, smooth and happy. Everybody likes a happy ending, but the climax
...more
Potato
Jan 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Frankly is it the poorest attempt at a dystopic fiction I've ever read. The plot and characters are unique archetypes but are horribly uninteresting. The execution of its concepts are laughable, with many of the world's features not making logistic sense, despite supposedly happening in the near future.

It's is so blatant with its theming and message that it is downright patronizing to read.

Never buy it.
Mat
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one. Lots of ethics topics and explores what may occur in those situations. The post-apocolyptic rebuild feel was interesting. I gave this one a 3 because where as I enjoyed some parts in regards to what was happening I found it to be choppy. Somethings needed more build up and others needed to just get going. I'm unsure if this is meant to be a series but I would be likely to like a second book more where the continued exploration of the settings might take place.
Zanib  Sajjad
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, my review will do this book no justice. In fact, I should have written this review a long time ago, just never got around to it. Which is weird because I loved this book. Now, I'm not talking about the liked, love. I'm talking about the loved, loved. It is one of those novels that will bring tears to your eyes because of its ferocious writing style. Its power dripping in all the words, and oh, all the emotions. You guys noticing how I'm using all the italics? I can't emphasise my point ...more
Heather
Slow to start. Description of main character lacking. Reads a lot like "Candor," except set in some not too distant future rather than present day. Ending less realistic, more fantasy, where good guys always squeak by.
Maggie
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
(ACTUAL RATING: 2,5/5 STARS)

**Review in progress**
J Pouliot
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Possibly one of the best books I've ever read. Definitely top 10!
Gayla Ber
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An interesting take on a dystopian future
Rose Zarcani
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very deep and thought producing. With the way the world is now, it sounds like a very possible future for all us who live here.
Shannon
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopian, read-2019
I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book, but its conclusion was unsatisfying.
Kathy Locke
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick easy read that was enjoyable, believable and suspenseful. It makes one wonder how far will we fall from civilized, loving , kind human beings!
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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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