We Are Savages by Jessie Atkin
We Are Savages is the story of 12 year old Tris and what she finds when she runs from the responsibility of her household and descends through a rain grate into the child run world of Nowhere. "You go to bed angry or sad enough you can wake up just about anywhere," the Savages tell her. Nowhere is a brick utopia hidden in the sewers; made up of sweets, sports, hammocks, and fireflies. But even this haven, free of parents and protocol, is not everything it seems. Haunted by dark specters known only as Phocydes, feared for their reputation of consuming children whole, Tris works both to hunt and to hide from these hooded shadows. But something about them is familiar; something about them fires her curiosity more than her fear. And Tris slowly begins to realize that, no matter where you go, fear and responsibility are not things you can escape. The only thing to do is face them.
Paperback, 296 pagesPublished November 17th 2012 by Brady and Dustin Publishing
This book would be something to consider for younger teens, even older middle grade readers. Even though our main character Tris goes on an adventure, it's a plot geared solely towards the learning of a lesson and that knowledge coming full circle through the adventure.
A lot of the characters and the world building is not fleshed out. The relationship that Tris has with her parents felt a little off to me. And leads to thoughts that maybe the Phocydes are an interpretation of that relationship.
Younger readers will not be as critical to these things, but I feel that teens for sure may find a lot of these little faults unsatisfactory.
The only real dilemma though with younger readers is the length of the book. At 296 pages and the age group it's appropriate for that they may not be able to stick with it to the end. It was not fast paced and has spots of action that push the story forward, but not as constant as I would have expected.
I feel that I would have enjoyed the story more if the main character was older 14 at the youngest. And maybe the side characters parents, other children, the world of Nowhere and the Phocydes were rounded out more, all the pieces would have fit together better.
As is, this book would be suited for discussion topics. Maybe libraries or classroom discussions could get going. Topics like character growth especially interactions with each other and the addition of fear and learning from your mistakes.
I give this story 3 stars for the interesting plot line and Declan and Tris. My favorite characters.