Summary (from Goodreads):
“In this near-future dystopia with echoes of “The Giver” and “Among the Hidden,” Tania Unsworth has created an unsettling page-turner fast-paced, smooth, filled with dread that s wholly satisfying and startlingly original.
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.
Fans of dystopian fiction and spine-chilling adventure will devour “The One Safe Place”; its haunting themes will resonate long after readers have turned the final page.”
I can’t even tell you how much I l enjoyed this book. The synopsis compares it to The Giver, and I think that’s absolutely appropriate.
I love Devin, but I think my favorite character is Kit. She clearly has had an awful life but she still is a good person and helps Devin (even as she says repeatedly that you have to rely on yourself because no one else will help you). It’s so obvious why she’s so willing to stay at the Home even as it becomes increasingly clear that it is not a great place to be: even as scary as it can get, it’s still a place where she has a bed and a shower and food.
I’m hoping that Tania Unsworth writes something else soon. Ideally we could maybe get a sequel (the ending is not really open-ended, but let’s be honest: the Administrator, like most villains, doesn’t really let things go) but I would settle for anything.