Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth

Posted by Caitie F on April 24, 2014

Title: The One Safe Place18267072
Author: Tania Unsworth
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Devin doesn’t remember life before the world got hot; he has grown up farming the scorched earth with his grandfather in their remote valley. When his grandfather dies, Devin heads for the city. Once there, among the stark glass buildings, he finds scores of children, just like him, living alone on the streets. They tell him rumors of a place for abandoned children, with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family. But only the luckiest get there.

An act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the home, but it’s soon clear that it’s no paradise. As Devin investigates the intimidating administrator and the zombie-like sickness that afflicts some children, he discovers the home’s horrific true mission. The only real hope is escape, but the place is as secure as a fortress.


I keep hearing that the dystopian trend is over, but then I read a book like this and see that is not true. There is plenty of room for new stories that look at a possible future in a different and scary way.

The actual story of this was completely engrossing. What is really going on is slowly hinted at, so by the time Devin figures it out the reader has just gotten it also. Figuring it out with him actually made it even more shocking because the realization just started to dawn on you. I don’t want to spoil it, but it is disturbing in the best possible way.

I adore Devin. He is such a good character. He is a good person, which always helps, but he is also bright, inquisitive, and very brave. I can see why he would get picked to come to the home. He isn’t perfect, but his imperfections make you want to root for him even more because he feels so real.

Some of the secondary characters fall a little flat, but the important ones are more well-rounded. The villain is also sufficiently creepy and intimidating. She is not an easy foe and she is very good at keeping secrets.

The whole premise of this book is very disturbing, mostly because it is a possible future. Climate change is going to have significant impacts and those impacts will be show the differences between the uber-wealthy and the poor even more. I like that there are some dystopian coming out about climate change because they feel so real.

This is a great dystopian book. Which do you feel could be the most realistic dystopian society? Let me know in the comments!


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