Delacorte Press, 2009
Thomas has no memory of who he was or where he lived before he woke up in the lift, the one-way entrance to a walled-in settlement of teenage boys called the Glade. All he knows is that he wants to be a Runner -- one of the boys assigned to explore the Maze, the dangerous labyrinth that encloses the Glade. With the unprecedented arrival of a strangely familiar girl to the Glade, only a day after Thomas, his determination to become a Runner and search for the Way Out only grows. If only he could remember his past, maybe he could figure out why the girl seems so familiar... and maybe even discover the secret of the Maze.
The Maze Runner is a thrilling read from start to finish, a thoroughly enjoyable dystopic fiction. A short checklist of fun in the novel:
Page-turning mystery. Check.
Crazytimes. Check. Check.
Colorful invented words. Check.
Creepy monsters. Check.
Even creepier premise. Check.
Seeds of romance. Check.
Also, if you're looking for inspiration in your exercise routine, you can take it from the Runners, who apparently do half-marathons on a daily basis.
See? Chock-full of merit.
Lest I frighten you, dear readers, into thinking I am a sadistic, evil person, I will add the following disclaimer: Like most dystopic fiction, The Maze Runner can also be disturbing and depressing and make you say "Woe!" for the poor children whose human rights were violated in its fictional world. So, if you're looking for rainbows and butterflies, this one probably isn't for you. On the other hand, if you like saying "Woe!" and "Alas!" as much as I do and you think Margaret Atwood is a genius, you should get thee to a library or independent bookstore ASAP and snag a copy of this one.
You can read the first chapter and other excerpts on the author's website, here. And check out the appropriately shiver-inducing book trailer, a finalist in the 2009 Kirkus Book Video Awards. Saw this one before I'd heard of the book; made me put the novel on my to-read list.
Fans of the Hunger Games trilogy, Ender's Game (& etc.), and Lord of the Flies will love this novel and eagerly look forward to the second installment, The Scorch Trials, out in October. In a coincidence that clearly says, "You should read both series," the paperback of The Maze Runner AND the third Hunger Games book, Mockingjay, will both be released on August 24. It will be a ... wait for it ... dystopia extravaganza!
 I confess that right now I'm totally fixated on Forever Young Adult's "casting" of Percy Jackson and Effy Stonem for Thomas and Teresa, which (and I'm allowed to say this, because they are both apparently legal, if barely) would be sexytimes in the event of romance. And now I'm thinking about my everlasting love of Skins and how I wish the BBC would release the third series in the USA already. ALSO: E4 announced today in the Guardian that there will be a SKINS MOVIE. YES. This is so fab it deserves to be someplace other than a footnote, but I am lazy. But do not doubt my extreme excitement. MUCH YAY.
 WILL IT BE GALE OR PEETA? Guys, I might actually get stressed out about this as it gets closer.