Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Limit

The Limit

Kristen Landon
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1442402713

For the last thirteen years Matt has had an easy, some would even say charmed, life. His father makes a good living, and Matt and his sisters usually get whatever they want. Matt’s mother loves shopping and she never really thinks too much about what she is buying. If she likes something she buys it. Then, one day at the grocery store, something unthinkable happens. The checkout lady tells Matt’s mother that they are over the limit.

   Some time ago the government put a law into place whereby every family is given a financial debt limit. If the members of the family go over the limit, then the government, under the Federal Debt Ordinance (FDO), can take one of the older children in the family to a workhouse where that child works to help pay off the family debt. An agency called the Federal Debt Rehabilitation Agency (FDRA) manages the workhouses and overseas the FDO.

   Without any warning, Matt is taken from his home and is relocated to a workhouse not too far from his family home. In this workhouse the children are categorized according to their abilities. Since Matt is extremely gifted when it comes to mathematical problems and computer models, he is placed on the Top Floor. “Top Floors” are given very comfortable accommodations, they have excellent amenities, they are able to buy whatever they want online and order in any food that they have a hankering for.

   Matt quickly makes friends and his only real complaint is that his cell phone cannot get a signal and that his email is not working. He really wants to be able to check on his parents and to find out what they are doing on their end to solve the family’s financial problems.

   Matt then starts noticing that something strange is going on at the workhouse. Kids on the lower floors are getting headaches and are having seizures, and when one of the Top Floors is moved down to one of the lower floors, Matt decides to investigate. While he is illegally checking out the lower floors Matt sees Lauren, his younger sister. She has also been brought to the workhouse and he gets really upset. Why would the government bring such a young child to the workhouse? Isn’t the work he is doing enough to help pay of fhis family’s debt?

   Matt decides that he has to find out what is really going on at the workhouse, never imagining that what he is going to find is going to rock his world to its core.

   In this thrilling story the author skillfully peels away secrets and deceptions to reveal a stark and shocking truth. It is interesting to see how Matt changes as the story unfolds, and how he grows up and starts taking responsibility for himself and his family members.