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Young Adult (13+)
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
Okay. I have to be honest. There was so much hype about this book that my expectations were beyond realistic. And it's been my experience that over-hyped books don't often live up to it. This is not the case with THE MAZE RUNNER. The hype was totally deserved.
I keep asking myself that question. There are things about this book that irked me right from the start: the made-up profanity (the author so obviously wanted to avoid using profanity, but instead of just leaving it out, he made up some pretty dumb words like "klunk" and "shank"), the worn out Lord of the Flies type premise (a bunch of boys thrown together in a a do or die situation), the never really explained telepathic abilities of the protagonist and another character, the weirdly described Grievers, and so on. All these things would normally turn me off to any book. BUT...
I was SO WELL WRITTEN! And even the things I didn't like about it just fit so well into the overall story I had no choice but to like it. Dashner is brilliant at those chapter endings - it was next to impossible to finish a chapter without having to turn the page to see what happens next. I found myself completely engrossed in the whole thing. I had a hard time distinguishing some of the characters from each other, but I didn't care!
The Maze Runner was a thrilling race to the finish line. My son said this is one of the best books he's ever read, and I have to agree. No, it isn't perfect. No, it isn't a literary classic. But it is daring, tense, invigorating, mysterious, dangerous, and death defying. I liked it as much as if not more than The Hunger Games and Divergent. I will most definitely be reading the other three books in the series. YES, THREE!
I give The Maze Runner a whooping loud:
PROFANITY: None (unless you count all the made up ones)
VIOLENCE: Moderate (kids get injured and die, but I wouldn't call any of the violence graphic)