Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 249 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Bo Marsten tells this story from the late 21st century. In this world the USA is now called the USSA and people are monitored closely so that any false move can result in swift incarceration to a work camp. Almost a third of all adults get incarcerated at one time or another due to the stringent rules that have been put in place by the new government. Bo’s father and brother are already at different work camps working off time they have accrued through incidents stemming from their hot tempers. Bo follows suit when he is blamed for spreading a rash around the school. A subsequent public outburst leads him to a work camp of his own.
Once at the work camp he realizes that it would be better for him to become a Gold Shirt, which is the elite group that only has to work eight hours a day and has a lot more options for meals. The Gold Shirts put him through a bizarre tryout and he makes it. He quickly realizes that life as a Gold Shirt is not as simple as he had previously thought. He starts to fear for his safety when it becomes apparent that no one cares if any of them survive their sentences in order to be released.
Bo’s story is very well detailed in how this society is set up and functions on a daily basis. For example, safety regulations are much stricter than we know them to be today. Many activities like riding horses or playing football are against the law entirely. The idea of people working for corporations as punishment for their discretions, varying by degree of severity by quite a bit, makes an interesting tale about how everyone must learn to survive in this society. Students who enjoy futuristic type stories will find this one unique and interesting as they follow Bo’s struggle against the inevitable.