NomanslandSet in a post-apocalyptic dystopian society, Nomansland delves into the inner turmoil of Keller, a young teen, as she struggles with her own values and identity in an oppressive society. In a population made up entirely of women, Keller's society defends itself vigorously against invasion by men from the outside world (yes, the title is supposed to be No-Mans-Land, but it took me a while to get that...). The girls in the society are taught to avoid the seven Pitfalls—Reflection, Decoration, Coquetry, Triviality, Vivacity, Compliance, and Sensuality—and to reject warmth and friendship.
by Lesley Hauge
NY: Henry Holt and Co., 2010
ages 12 - 16
available on Amazon or your local library
The leaders have created a tough, self-reliant society, and yet allegiance to these values and to the leadership is cracking at all levels. One of Keller"s fellow "Trackers" discovers a buried ruined house of the "Old People." The girls' excitement over the fashion magazines, makeup, and high heels they discover leads first to fascination and soon to peer pressure and a bizarre fashion show. It ends in death and disaster when their repressive, pleasure-hating leaders find out and punish the girls.
Young teens - especially girls - will be fascinated at an outsider's look at our "modern" society with all the trappings of consumer culture on show. This is a novel for reflection on peer pressure, trust, and identity and is not a story for readers who want exciting action.
I would give this to lovers of The Hunger Games and Graceling who are clamoring for more dystopian literature with strong female leads. It is more introspective than either of those, with less plot/drama/action. But interesting premise and compelling story that pulled me through.
The review copy came from my local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.
Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.