"You're over your limit." With these words 13 year old Matt who has a gift for math and computers is about to be taken to a Federal Debt Rehabilitation Agency workhouse. Remember the industrial revolution and all the children working in the factories? Well, fast forward to the future to a time where children are taken from the family to work off the family's credit card debt. In this case Matt is sent to the top floor where he can order anything he wants or needs be it clothes, equipment, whatever. His brains have earned him this special place in the pecking order. The kids all have projects to work on there but strangely, Matt starts to see one after another experiencing really intense headaches. What is going on in this workhouse? Why don't his parents ever respond to his emails? Will Matt be able to hack his way into the system's computer and get to the truth? One day, Matt finds his sister's name in the database and he knows she too has been brought to this place but she's living on a lower floor. How can they escape the trap they are living in? 291 pages Ages 12 and up Barb
Placed in the near future where children are sent to work houses to help pay off their parent’s debts, this science fiction book reads like realistic fiction. The story is told from the first person point of view of thirteen-year-old Matt, a bright student with exceptional computer skills.
Because of his special skills, Matt lives in luxury on the top floor of the workhouse with a few select others. Curiosity leads Matt to explore other aspects of the workhouse. What he discovers leads to a dramatic ending that exposes the excesses of the workhouses.
This is a fast moving novel. A series of revelations keeps the reader’s interest. The interactions between Matt and his top floor friends are realistic and engaging. The parents are self-centered, unaware, and lack development. They provide only background for the story. 291 pages.
Recommended by: Barbara Fiehn, EdD, Library Media Education, Western KY University