The Young World by Chris Weitz is one of those books I just picked up at the bookstore and decided to go for it. I hadn’t heard of it, and I hadn’t put together that Weitz is a famous director. He’s directed movies like Twilight: New Moon, A Better Life, About a Boy, The Golden Compass and American Pie—-talk about variety! Needless to say, his experience in the supernatural worlds of Twilight and The Golden Compass seemed to have helped him craft his compelling debut novel, The Young World.
A disease referred to as the Sickness wipes out the human population- excluding teenagers- and the novel throws us into this dangerous new world. It’s New York City, and it’s run by teenage tribes who are trying to make ends meet before the Sickness takes them at age 18. Each chapter switches POV from the leader of the tribe, sweet and smart Jefferson, to his best friend and crush, blunt and daring Donna. The story follows the twosome as they, along with a group of misfit friends, embark on a dangerous adventure in hopes of finding a cure.
All in all, I enjoyed the story. It was thrilling to imagine a New York City in this state of chaos, run by young survivors. The descriptions of the underground markets, the subway, and all the landmarks readers will be able to identify with paint beautiful visuals.
James Patterson says “The Young World is populated with characters you won’t forget and a story as fresh and urgent as Divergent.” And while I do agree that the characters don’t hold the typical boy vs. girl characteristics that I was afraid of when I first dove into the story, I also found that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I do in other post-apocalyptic tales; I’m not sure if this is because of the writing or the POV changes. I actually remember saying to myself “I think these characters would be well depicted in a movie.” Maybe even better depicted in a movie.
Publishers Weekly calls the ending “A game-changing cliff hanger will have readers ready for the next book.” I found the love triangle and cliff hanger with Donna and Jefferson’s characters a bit ‘set up’, rushed and forced, but then again, there were some surprises as well. Overall, the book was a page turner and full of action. The setting is something we haven’t seen before, and if the book does well, The Young World trilogy will definitely be made into movies. And I’m betting, with Weitz’s experience, that the films will outshine the books.