In a drought-stricken world, Devin and his grandfather have barely scraped out a living on their isolated farm. When his grandfather dies, Devin knows he can’t manage alone and heads for the nearest city to find help. But in the city he finds only children alone like him, living on the streets. Then a small act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood—a place with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new home.
But Devin soon finds out that the Gabriel Penn Home is no paradise. A zombie-like sickness afflicts many of the children who live there—and it will claim Devin, too, unless he can become the first to find a way out of this dystopian nightmare.
“[A] chilling and engrossing tale . . . A standout.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Fast-paced and gripping. An original dystopian story.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“A timeless story that deserves to become a children’s classic for decades to come.” —The Christian Science Monitor
A Summer 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick One of the Christian Science Monitor’s 25 Best New Middle Grade Novels of 2014
The daughter of the late novelist Barry Unsworth, Tania Unsworth spent her childhood in Cambridge, UK, before moving to America in her early twenties. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons. She’s the author of The One Safe Place. Her website is www.taniaunsworth.com.
The One Safe Place 3.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
It was not terrible but not great; there's not much re-read value in my opinion. I'm glad I checked it out at the library, because realistically I'd only pay about $2.99 for it in ebook format. Still, it was worth a look. I want to know more about the world the story is set in and how people function in that society on a larger scale.
More than 1 year ago
First off let me say that I really, really liked this debut novel from Tania Unsworth. She takes you into a world where nothing seems like it appears before your eyes and ears. It is a page turner from page one right through to the last page.
The setting of this book is sometime in the future when the world has been devastated with a cosmic climate change and the survivors are split into two groups according to their wealth....the haves and the have nots. Devin, who lives in a sheltered farm with his grandfather is present when his dear, beloved caregiver passes away. Devin lovingly buries him and then strikes out for the city in order to survive. He cannot keep up the place on his own so he goes off to find others who may come back and help him maintain the farm and live with him there.
Once in the city he is horrified to see that orphaned children are everywhere and the adults just pass them by and do not care about them. He struggles to find food and shelter daily and finally meets up with a smart, street-wise girl named Kit. He hears about an unbelievable place that kids can go called the Gabriel H. Penn House for Childhood and by a stroke of luck (or so he thinks) he is invited to go there. It is an utopian place where kids can eat as much as they want, play as much as they want and find adoptive parents thus resulting in a very good life. He insists on Kit accompanying him and then the real sinister suspense begins. All is not as it was portrayed and they begin to realize that evil resides in and around that home entangling those within to become hostages. Knowing they are trapped and prisoners of that foreboding place the captive kids work together to find a way to escape and somehow find a way back to safety and a new life.
The author uses very descriptive language and takes you right into the minds and hearts of the characters she has penned. Her portrayal of the events and circumstances causes the reader to be fully engaged with the characters plight. I highly recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and having taught middle grade and early high school students I know they will find this book very interesting and enthralling to read.
More than 1 year ago
I love a good dystopian adventure, Stephen King’s The Stand is one of my favorite books, and it is fairly easy to find a dystopian themed
book for adults. But you don’t often see one that is geared toward the young reader. Not sure why? Because young readers are
bombarded with horrific scenes everyday so why not more so in books. This book is written so that the young reader can experience a
dystopian society that is filtered from to much horrible stuff, such as those found in Stephen King’s The Stand. There are a lot of
educational points made throughout the book: such as global warming and the environment, I mean it barely rains and everything is
pretty much dried up and dead, and those with the water are the wealthiest living off the needs of others; technology is also talked
about because of the reason the kids are invited to the home in the first place, not trying to give anything away, but the story makes a
point of when does technology go to far, these kids are trapped and basically technology is ruining their childhood and is also placing
a huge mental and physical strain upon these children; which brings us to the rights of children, even today this is something that kids
see on the news, where other children are being abused or mistreated, where does the rights of children stand. This is why this book
I was not to thrilled nor to disgusted with this book, indifferent would be a good word, it was just a shrug and a “humph”.
Am I glad I read the book?
Yes and I am especially glad that this topic was approached for this age group and that it didn’t involve supernatural creatures.
Would I read the book again?
Nope probably not. Just not a good reread for me because I just wasn’t that in to it.
Would I recommend this book to anyone?
Yes I would. This book was written for those 10 year of age and up but I really feel that this is more for the 10-12 year old’s and less
for anyone older than that. The topics in this book are pretty gender neutral so I think both girls and boys would enjoy it just about the
More than 1 year ago
Not everything is as it seems!
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Algonquin Books and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
I enjoyed this book and found the story intriguing. This book has a middle grade audience but I found it quite appealing even as an adult. The story pulls you in right away and keeps you interested until the very end.
This book is set in a future world that is quite hot. Devin has lived on the farm with his grandfather but when his grandfather suddenly dies, Devin must take care of the entire farm alone. When he realizes that the task is more than he can handle, Devin decides to head to the city to find help. City life turns out to be much harder than he expected. Devin is quickly robbed of all of his possessions and must make his way with nothing more than the clothes on his back.
Devin soon meets a young girl, Kit, who has learned how to navigate the cruel city. When the rains come, Devin and Kit seek refuge at an old school with other kids where they meet Roman. Roman invites Devin to come with him to a place where he will be taken care of, a home for children. Devin agrees to go but only if Kit can come as well. On the surface the children's home is more than they could have ever wished for but soon they learn that not everything is quite as it seems.
I found the world building in this book to be well done. I could completely envision the cruel city where children are left to fend for themselves in a world with too little food. The children's home was a world of its own even though it was largely a facade. I thought that the book was well written with believable characters.
I do have to admit that I am still a bit confused by Devin's special abilities and found that it added nothing to the story. I also thought that is was strange that Devin wanted to go to the children's home when his goal was to get help for his farm.
I would recommend this book. This is the first book by Tania Unsworth that I have had a chance to read. I plan to look for other works by this author in the future.
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