Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, June 20, 2011

Plot Summary:
In an alternate reality, seventeen-year-old Tak is trapped in a nightmare where school has not only become his worse nightmare, but could be the end of him...literally. The goal of this world is to turn teenagers into obedient adults who do not questions authority; if teens revel they are expelled from the school system where they will not be allowed to live amongst the rest of the citizens and are sentenced to a life of wandering. However, the Mayor and the educators (disciplinary committee) are fighting their biggest foe called "The Truancy." What is even more humiliating, and astounding, is that the Truancy is a group of rebellious teens who are not only brilliant, but organized, brutal, and fearless. Tak knew nothing about the Truancy until he meets Umasi who not only enlightens, but secretly trains him to become a formidable foe. However, when Tak loses someone he loves dearly to all of the senseless violence and does something he never thought he would ever be able to do.

Critical Evaluation:
What is amazing about this book is not the fact that this book was written by a fifteen-year-old high school, it is the originality of the story. Fukui's story is frightening because not only could this happen, it is a grim reflection on how society views young adults. Moreover, this story also conveys how education is necessary for survival, especially if students are threatened with exile.The characters in this story, contrary to what the adults of this world believe, are not only intelligent, but incredibly sophisticated and mature where they are able to recognize injustices. However, what Fukui does manage to maintain is the authenticity of the teen character where he, or she, not only struggles with decision-making, but with emotions as well; Tak is stuck between a "rock and a hard place" when he witnesses the tactics of the Truancy and deciphering what is best for the greater good. Teens will have a lot to think about as they dive into this chaotic world featuring the classic battle of adults vs. children.

Information about the Author:
According to his website, Isamu Fukui was born on February 6, 1980. When he was twelve-years-old, he decided that he was going to become a writer and, a few years later, "he won a National Gold Award in the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition. Two years after that, he decided to use his writing to channel his discontent as a student. The result was Truancy, a novel that cast the institution of school as the enemy" (para. 1). Fukui currently attends New York University and "Today the author remains a firm supporter of student empowerment, and has continued to write about what he believes in. He is not overly fond of special attention, and considers his life outside of writing to be perfectly ordinary. In his free time Fukui enjoys trolling the internet, playing videogames, and taking long naps on the nearest flat surface" (para. 1).

Teen Dystopian Thriller

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Truancy:

 Awards & Recognition:
  • Kliatt starred review: 2008
  • ALA Popular Paperbacks: 2011
  • Colorado: Blue Spruce Award Nominees: 2011

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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