Saturday, September 6, 2014

The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth


The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth

4.5 stars

Devin has always lived on a farm and when his grandfather dies he knows it’s his time to go into the city. What Devin finds in the city is a world of poverty. The rich are the ones living in houses, drinking water, and eating. The homeless are children and people who can’t afford to live nicely. Devin meets a girl on the streets and they become fast friends. Rumors of a home where homeless children go to be adopted are whispered amongst the homeless, but Kit says they are just stories. Until they aren’t. Devin is offered to go to the home and he’s taking Kit with him. Not everything is what it seems in the home. Horrible things are being done to the children and there is no escape. I’ve never read The Giver or Among the Hidden, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I was highly impressed by this novel. I hit a lot of sour reads through Netgalley and even more mediocre ones. I always get so excited when I find books that are genuinely fantastic on there. This is one of those books! I was very thrown off at first. It is an odd book from the beginning. This is a dystopian novel. It doesn’t seem like one but it is. I like the feel of that in writing. I know the world is horrible, but it feels like today’s current world only in the behind the scenes. Our world is wreaked with poverty whether we want to acknowledge it or not. In that sense, this novel heightens the form of poverty to no middle class. You are either rich or homeless. There’s no in between.

Dystopians can always seem predictable. There’s your basic regime government of supposed utopian society gone downhill. There’s a revolution in the underground waiting to break free that the main character discovers and leads. Your basic romance that can sometimes just be absolutely gut-wrenching (I’m looking at you Suzanne Collins). Dystopians have a basic set up, but The One Safe Place goes against your basic backdrop. We have absolutely no interaction with the government and there is no revolution. We do meet someone who in a way governs the orphans, but is in no means the government. There’s no takedown per say, but there is a conclusion that leaves hope for the characters. There is also no romance, just a strong friendship that could be more in the future. I loved all these differences. It’s refreshing. It made me enjoy this book. I went from apprehensive to absolutely thrilled.

The main male character is Devin. It’s interesting to be thrown into a dystopian where the main character hasn’t grown up in this environment. His family has lived on a farm as a way to escape this world. As Devin journeys into this world we feel the same confusion and questions about this world that Devin has. It was an interesting perspective and I really enjoyed it. Devin also has synesthesia. I have never read a book with a character that has this disability, but I have quite a few on my TBR list. I thought it was a very interesting take for Devin, but I don’t feel like it was fully touched on or even touched in the proper way. I’m not sure though since this is my first time reading about or even really getting knowledge on it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 7.5

The main female character is Kit. There’s no romantic connection between Kit and Devin. It was hinted at as a possibility, but when you are fighting for your life it’s put on the back burner for these characters. This is something I really enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be all about romance and it was refreshing for it to be put on hold to let the plot be the main focal point of this novel. I didn’t particularly like Kit though. She could be very naïve about things and as well as annoying. I understand her reasoning though.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 6.5

The Villain- That twist?! The problem that orphans face in this utopian home is that they all go into a Dream. The Dream was not what I was expecting at all. I was completely blown away by the actual thought behind the Dream. It was just so cool.

Villain Scale: 8

I loved the orphans. They were such a colorful cast of characters. How could I not smile at the simple jokes? Also the pig was just such a fun touch to the novel.

Character Scale: 8

I’m highly impressed with The One Safe Place. It’s very different from current dystopians and worth the read. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a dystopian that is different from Divergent or The Hunger Games.

Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover. It’s simplistic, but it’s not amazing. I just really like the simplicity of it.

Thank you, Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This cover totally caught my eye, so I had to come read your review. I'd never heard of this book before, but now I really want to read it. Thanks for sharing!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I hope you enjoy it! It's not a very popular book, but I think it definitely should get more recognition. Hope you enjoy it!