This is a dystopian futuristic novel about mind control. It evokes some thoughts of Nazi Germany (how can the adults just go along with things and not protest) and underground railroad slave issues. It is entertaining and compelling for young readers.
Despite some minor inconsistencies (they are in an academic school that doesn't care about football and so there is no money spent on the sport...but they get Friday afternoons off before the game?; Ally who is supposed to be dumb figures out the vaccination before anyone else; the southeast quadrant is full of rich kids...but I thought Max's school was for rich kids; and then again why doesn't he have to switch to an academic school in his poor quadrant once he moves to the apartments?), the first half of the book reads well and is compelling. The second half just resolves itself too quickly and easily. Of course, the hairdresser's son can get them a working car..with gas! And of course, they wouldn't have to pay for it, they could just give up the apartment that they don't need anymore anyway. And of course, when they get to border patrol we discover that the "withstand" that we've seen everywhere is because of Max. And of course, Pepper is there.
Ultimately, the book tries really hard and I have put it on reserve from the library for my 10 year old son. I think there are some good themes and discussion opportunities for kids, but it is too simplistic for an adult audience.