In a futuristic society that oppresses immigrants and requires citizens to use Protectors (guns), two teenage girls from opposite backgrounds must decide if they’ll risk their lives to save the people they love.
Fifteen-year-old Hannah, a new citizen, and thirteen year-old Jenny, a future safety officer, have nothing in common. But it’s Jenny’s job to make sure Hannah follows the Governcorp citizenship rules – especially to carry and use a Protector properly. Having a Protector is supposed to keep you safe, and help you keep others and your community safe. Protect yourself; protect your property; protect community property; protect your friends, family, and fellow citizens – that’s what the Governcorp rulebook says. And what Jenny believes with all her heart. Hannah wants to be a good citizen, for her family and for her father who worked so hard to gain citizenship for them – but for someone who grew up in the Homestead, Protectors mean something else entirely to her: fear and Governcorp control. She doesn’t want to carry one and she doesn’t want to use one, but she has no choice. As she navigates what it means to be a citizen she finds herself part of a rebellion that questions the rules. But when questioning the rules leads to breaking them, she’ll have to rely on Jenny for help. And Jenny’s idea of being a good citizen is very different from Hannah’s…
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect about this young adult novel is how Joël Henning Doty seamlessly blends prevalent issues from today—consumerism, surveillance, immigration, protesting, and guns—into a narrative that is simultaneously innovative and age-appropriate. The characters are well-rounded and well-developed and the plot itself is eerily believable, only serving to draw the reader in even more. The Good Citizen is a thrilling, thoughtful, poignant novel that will leave its readers with lots to ponder and discuss. One can only hope that there will be sequels to The Good Citizen in the future, since this is a book that certainly deserves and inspires them.
The societal structure represented in this book is reminiscent of other popular young adult novels like The Giver or Divergent, but with a unique, modern-day twist that is absolutely captivating.