A mysterious sickness has wiped out anyone not in the midst of puberty and it continues to kill people as they reach the age of 18. A tribe of teens living in Washington Square think they may have found a clue to the cause of the sickness and five key members set out from the safety of the square to investigate.
Of course, this is just to set the scene for a roadtrip through post-apocalyptic New York. It's all here, the tech cult who live in the library, the hippy kids ominous neverending drum circle, a gang of misogynistic jocks who seem to run the town and the smart black kids who actually do. It's like all the cliques of high school went truly tribal.
This is not a new plot, there are references to Lord of the Flies throughout and there are many parts that remind me of Gone by Michael Grant. But what I love about The Young World is that it is so simple. Weitz has limited himself to the least possible number of survivors (there are no adults, but also no little kids), each tribe has a really simple set of rules and the journey of discovery allows us to see all of them. It's pure and simple.
Of course if you're looking for some deep truths or a satisfying end, you're looking in the wrong place. This is fast, violent, a little disturbing and strangely fun.
Published by Little Brown Books July 27, 2014