Monday, July 25, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Limit by Kristen Landon

About the book: An eighth grade girl was taken today . . . With this first sentence, readers are immediately thrust into a fast-paced thriller that doesn't let up for a moment. In a world not too far removed from our own, kids are being taken away to special workhouses if their families exceed the monthly debt limit imposed by the government. Thirteen-year-old Matt briefly wonders if he might be next, but quickly dismisses the thought. After all, his parents are financially responsible, unlike the parents of those other kids. As long as his parents remain within their limit, the government will be satisfied and leave them alone. But all it takes is one fatal visit to the store to push Matt’s family over their limit—and to change his reality forever.
Kristen Landon's The Limit brings the popular dystopian thriller genre to a middle grade audience
. -Goodreads
First Line: "An eighth grade girl was taken today."

One great line: "She tilted her head, smiling that sweet smile of hers that had a tendancy to turn my brain into sugar crystals."

What others have said:

Booklist:  "From the first sentence (An eighth-grade girl was taken today), Landon captures readers’ attention and keeps it. This first-person, part realistic fiction, part fantasy should appeal to readers looking for high-action adventure. Grades 8-11." --J. B. Pett

Kirkus:   "Landon never fills out a mind-reprogramming element in her story line, focusing instead on simple snooping and chase scenes to boost suspense. She more or less succeeds, penning a story with a creative scenario that easily holds readers' interest even if it doesn't stretch their imaginations much. Diverting entertainment with an original premise that's never wholly realized."

What I Thought: 
     From the first page Landon does an excellent job of keeping the pace quick the tension high. Media literacy is something I'm very interested ever since college where I studied communication. The Limit tells of a world that is very similar to ours and addresses several important questions about consumerism. Matt ,the main character, is shocked and frustrated with his parent's spending habits. Since Matt is incredibly smart he uses some unique ways to ultimately uncover the secret behind the workhouse. The premise of children paying for parental spending mistakes doesn't seem that far off in light of our current deficit. Matt succeeds in making changes to some of the most horrible conditions,  but the idea of children working for parents spending habits went unchecked left me wanting more...a sequel??

About The Author:   Kristen Landon

Inspiration for The Limit: 
       "...I can’t remember who it was or the exact words they used—said something to the effect of, “parents who accumulate large amounts of debt are mortgaging their children’s future.” My mind took that idea to the extreme. What if children were really taken from home, locked away somewhere, and made responsible for their parents’ debt? The idea grew and changed until I came up with the basic premise for The Limit.

On research and creating Matt's world: 
      "While working on The Limit, I did a little bit of research on child laborers in the early 1900’s. I came across a fascinating, heartbreaking website featuring the photography of Lewis W. Hine. He spent four years documenting child laborers. Just take a minute to look at the faces of these young children."
Advice to writers: "Writing, like any thing else, takes a lot of practice, so keep working at it!" She also shared that she uses too many thats and justs and uses the find feature to ferret them out. (Me, too!) More here.
 Marketing Strategies: Facebook, Goodreads, school visits, virtual visits, conferences and workshops.

Don't forget to check out the other MMGM bloggers. Links are in my sidebar!


  1. Have I told you that I love the 'first line' and 'one great line' thing that you do? Always intriguing. Thanks for the recommend and the author info!

  2. Excellent over view of this book..something for everyone, readers and writers. Thanks.

  3. Sounds like a great dystopian story for middle graders. Thanks for sharing your review.

  4. Hi there--Dropping off an award:

    You deserve it!

  5. Oh this book sounds wonderful. I'll have to look for it and congrats on the award.

  6. Wow! Thanks for all your wonderful comments. I always struggle with what to include in my reviews. I'm so glad you are all enjoying them. And thanks for the nice award Catherine!


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