The Maze Runner – James Dashner

the maze runner

Reading level: 5

Series: Book 1 of Maze Runner series

Genre: Dystopian

ELL-Friendly: Yes

Library recommendation: Middle or high school

I made the mistake of reading this book and not realizing it was part of a trilogy. Now I have to read all of them… I’m dying to know, is WICKED good?

Mr. Dashner has written a very clever novel. It reminds me of the Hunger Games series, although The Maze Runner came first. They’re similar in that kids (well, teenagers) are forced to fight for their lives while being trapped in a man-made “prison” while at the will of adults. The Maze Runner is filled with mystery and action that keeps you turning the pages, and just when you think you’re figuring it out…you don’t. Gah, cliffhanger endings.

What I didn’t like is the lack of female characters. There is one girl throughout the whole novel (until the very end). There may be a plot-related reason for this that will be revealed in later books, so we shall see.

This book highlights the strength that young people can have if left alone without adults and how they take care of one another. Power to the kids! They even come up with their own vocabulary which could very well lead to a lesson or discussion about how words evolve.


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