Article 5 by Kristen SimmonsArticle 5 by Kristen Simmons

Article 5

byKristen Simmons

Hardcover | January 31, 2012

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New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police-instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior-instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings.the only boy Ember has ever loved.

KRISTEN SIMMONS has a master's degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband, Jason, and their precious greyhound Rudy in Tampa, Florida. Article 5 is her first novel.
Title:Article 5Format:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 8.4 × 5.94 × 1.39 inShipping dimensions:8.4 × 5.94 × 1.39 inPublished:January 31, 2012Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765329581

ISBN - 13:9780765329585


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay This whole novel felt like one giant travelogue; there was action and a plot, but there was too much in between traveling for me to thoroughly enjoy the book. There were a lot of throwaway characters that I was not crazy about and the whole first 15% of the novel in the prison with the evil headmistress type. It felt really cliche and then out of place considering the rest of the novel. I felt like it should have played a bigger role in the novel or else been taken out completely. Ember described herself using a mirror too much for my liking and she was such an erratically changing character that it made my head spin. At the beginning of the book she is fighting with law enforcement and then blackmails a guard into helping her leave, but then she randomly freezes up and needs Chase to save the day for her at some points which was really conflicting for me. She was also extremely hostile to Chase who saved her life and was about preserving her life and sanity. She was supposedly "in love" with him, but that didn't seem to stop her from being so upset that he had "changed" and become a "different person". The novel didn't give a backstory or a reason as to why Ember would just have automatically assumed that Chase would be different and unloving of her just because he became part of the law enforcement. If anything, he probably would have been more changed after his life on his own when his uncle abandoned him than by going through basic training. But honestly the whole time all I could think was "here is another typical ya dystopian novel" and it lived up to that. Overall: 3/5 stars because it was nothing special. I got the sequel for super cheap so I will continue it in hopes that there will be more back story and world building.
Date published: 2015-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Very consuming series, I didn't want it to end. I will read this series again in the future. Must read!
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Article5 It was very intresting and surprisingly is now one of my favourite books! A great read for anyone who likes stories that will have you on the edge of your seat
Date published: 2014-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great dystopian novel I have this love for dystopian novels. Why? Because the whole building is the same, and I like straightforward plots where you know who the enemy is. The government. Now I haven’t read a great dystopian since Marie Lu’s Legend, but that doesn’t stop me from reading them all. From what I gathered from the description, I thought this was a mission to find her mom and keep her safe, which it was, but then Ember finds herself being kidnapped by the soldiers. Talk about a prison for children. Shot dead if caught leaving the grounds? No thanks! I admire Ember for her sheer determination to help her mom. I love how Kristin Simmons managed to weave in twists and turns during the entire book, and I did not see that twist coming which I love love love. I also fell in love with the dialogue between the two characters, Ember and Chase. How sweet and loving they were! Check out my quotes below if you don’t agree with me! There’s something adorable about childhood romances that makes me shudder. Ember’s thoughts could be mindless teenage babble sometimes, but I choose now to ignore that whenever a character becomes too annoying. Overall, a good dystopian novel, but it’s not one of the best. Kudos to Kristin for spinning a novel full of fast paced action and romance. I look forward to reading the next book!
Date published: 2014-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Article 5 Overall a good book and the romantic aspects were cute. I found my self lost in the book by the end but it took a couple chapters for me to really get captivated. I enjoyed the characters and thought they were well thought out. Anyways to keep it short and sweet I loved it.
Date published: 2014-10-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A5 Not bad. Not great.
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Article 5 Very interesting take on a political twist for the future. Really enjoyed this book!
Date published: 2014-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, But Not One Of My Favourites I wouldnt get your hopes up for this one, folks. Characters that lack depth, a world where you can get arrested for reading books, a confusing and somewhat uneventful romance, and an adventure that wont really have you on the edge of your seat may sound fantastic, but its really not. Article 5 isn't bad, but it is not one of my favourites. Mind you, i wasn't expecting an amazing, over-the-top dystopian book, but i still wasn't impressed. The premise is good, but the delivery is poor. You could've taken the plot and made one awesome book for teens, but Simmons just... Didn't. Ember isn't a good character, and i couldn't really get a feel for her. I don't dislike her as much as i thought i would, though. And im not a big fan of Chase, either. Its cool that, you know, ever since he became a solder he sort of lacked emotion and whatnot, but Simmons could've added more to his overall character. I wish we could learn more about him before he became a solder. Although i don't like Chase, i like how he changed and how it complicates Ember and his relationship. I also feel like Ember talks about Beth and missing her so much, and we should've learned more about her, because, really, all we know is that shes a redhead and Embers best friend. (Is it bad that my favourite character is Tucker Morris? I don't actually like him, but he completely makes the book and has that something about him that makes you want to learn more about. Wish he was in the book more. Oh, well.) The writing isn't horrible, but Simmons could have captured the audiences attention more. Most of the 'intense' parts aren't that intense, although towards the end of the book the pace does pick up. But, still, i didn't love this book. Im surprised i even finished it. It is good, though. Worth a read. But im probably not going to read the sequel. Sorry, but this is an honest review. Ill repeat what i said at the beginning: don't get your hopes up for this one.
Date published: 2013-04-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Entertaining story...but bogged down by an irritating female lead character So America as we know it has ended… somehow - we never really find out, but since the story is primarily told from Ember’s point of view I figure we’re not told because maybe she doesn’t actually know. I assume the reasons why will be revealed later in the series (hopefully). But basically, citizens are very religiously controlled, and are run on the ideas that primarily women are back to being less than men, we’re baby making factories in marriage only and are allowably beat into submission while men are expected to do the “manly” things like join the military. It’s all very Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaids Tale”. Now, I’m just going to put this out here, because I’m sure you guessed what happens when girl meets previous boy love - they run off together into the wasteland of America to survive and look for her mom. Ember’s character…Oh boy where do I start. I wanted to smack some sense into her 90% of the time, I’ve never hated a character so much before. If she wasn’t whining or hating on Chase for joining the military/carrying weapons/making the tough decisions that allow them to survive, she was reminiscing about friends we never see again, or how she “protected” her mom, all while making THE WORST life related decisions ever! She does things that NO ONE would do when someone’s trying to save your life and especially when you have no outdoors experience or supplies (*face palm X 100*). She’s so narrow minded, she only sees what she believes to be the right decisions and has a tough time empathizing with anyone else’s reasons, basically it’s her way or no way. However, there is a teeny spot near the end where she sort of redeems herself with an extremely well executed plan. Chase. He has the patience of a freaking saint to deal with Ember. He’s an incredibly well crafted character, and basically the idol for deadly hot looking soldier with the smarts and the skills for a post apocalyptic world. I honestly am not quite sure what he loves so much in Ember? Maybe her super morality and blood hound like determination once she finds some goal to latch onto. But while juggling Ember’s mood swings, his plans, and on top of everything PROTECTING them while suffering with internal post traumatic stress he manages to stay functional. I really loved his character, probably because he was the only rational thing I could cling onto as a reader trying to tread through. While Ember has a dilemma with everything Chase does, I couldn’t find a fault in any decision he made because the rules of survival are so much different in a broken world, and Ember really needed to get that into her head. I’m not entirely sure if it was the author’s intent to make Ember so irritating, with Chase as the counterbalance, but if it was she was highly successful at it, maybe a bit too successful where Ember was concerned. The romance in this book was really awkward and tense, all I really got from it was (in my own paraphrasing): Ember: I want you, but I don’t even know you any more!! and Chase: You think I’d go AWOL for YOU if I didn’t LOVE you?!, pretty much summed it up for me. I have to admit the enemies in this book were well executed, you weren’t quite sure of their intentions until it was too late. There were also some great action sequences and crushing revelations. But there was a moment, about halfway into the book where an event occurred that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I won’t tell you what it is, but as a kid who grew up in a farming community, camped, and common sense in general of what to do with edible animals when it’s post apocalypse and you’re starving, I had to stop and take some deep calming breaths. Near the end, Ember finally grows up a bit, has some realizations and it’s like a weight lifted off your chest because she FINALLY gets it. So as long as she stays as this new person, I think I might be able to make it through a second book. Simmons’ writing style is pretty solid and easy to follow which made getting through this book a bit more bearable for me. I know lots of people enjoyed it, and a lot of people didn’t. Overall I’m somewhere in between, but specifically, every time I think about that back breaking moment I’m on the “didn’t enjoy it” side.
Date published: 2012-04-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from good not great As I was reading I found myself becoming increasingly aggravated with the character Ember's impulsive, rather melodramatic reactions to the situations she was finding herself in. It wasn't until the end of the book when she really got "the big picture" that she started to become slightly more interesting to me. On the whole I found Chase to be much more complex and intriquing and I would have actually liked to know more about his backstory and history.
Date published: 2012-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A thrilling read that you won't be able to put down! You can read all of my reviews at I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this book. I read it in a single day and cursed the distractions around me everytime I had to put it down. I was sucked in almost immediately and felt I was there every step of the way with Ember & Chase on their race against time. The story is very fast paced, which makes the book un-put-down-able, but its not overwhelming at all. The memories Ember has that are dispersed throughout the novel of the growing romance between her and Chase are the perfect "catch your breath moments". Kristen Simmons transitions perfectly from the present story to the memories of the past, and they fit in seamlessly. A few times throughout the novel, I must admit, that Embers self blaming did begin to grate on my nerves a bit, but I will forgiver her because she was a pretty kick ass chick! Chase was a totally swoon-worthy character in my eyes. The love that he had for Ember and the lengths that he would go to to protect her definitely gave me the warm and fuzzies. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good thrill ride with a great romance mixed in.
Date published: 2012-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best!! I really LOVED this book, it had great chemistry with the characters, the plot was fantastic and it grabs your attention right away. I really liked how Kristen Simmons has created this world of dystopian. I knew I had to read this when I saw the summary of the book, because I love the sound of it. I wasn't wrong, because it blew me away with the characters and the plot. I really liked how Simmons put it together and the back history of the character with scenes of Chase and Ember. Article 5 was action packed and full of mystery of this new community that has risen after they had their wars. The world had some really outrageous laws that I could not believe that this was happening in this book. The soldiers which play a major role in this "world" has been the puppets in this plan to help take over old society with Brock as the main women to help "proper" young women since their parents were taken away or they were killed. I would run away from this society. Now to the main characters of whom I have loved since they are so great together, you have to know what is going on with their friendship/romance. I was rooting for these two since reading the back, and knowing that she loves him was even more encouraging because you want to know if Chase feels the same way as Ember (you see this develop more in the book) Simmons does it beautifully because I was crying at some parts, because of what was going on with there search for Ember's mom and how they clash as a couple in a way. As themselves they are both worthy, intelligent people, that out maneuver the law and save each other because they are a part of each others past. They are the cutest couple through the beginning of how they are neighbors to the day he decides to become a soldier, her love for Chase is ever growing. After being apart from each other, you can see the tension raising between them. I love this type of romance because the anticipation is soo worth it, and they are very alike + Chase is soo dreamy!! Based on this, I thoroughly recommend this book!! If you love dystopians this is a book for you! It had the perfect amount of action heart pounding scenes that will make you continue to read it. From beginning to end, you will want to know what is going to happen in the next book in this fantastic debut novel by Kristen Simmons. Pick this book up today!!!
Date published: 2012-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best dystopian books out there! HOLY WOW. If all dystopian books were like this one, I don't think there would be any complaints in the world! Article 5 was everything I expected and more: brilliantly written, complexly crafted, and containing characters that made my heart ache constantly. This is one of those books you love so much that writing a review for it is scary because you don't want to let it down. Article 5 is so packed with action and twists and turns that it's sometimes hard to breathe. The dystopian world, filled with its cruel laws and even crueler people, is one that sucks you in and makes you SO thankful that you don't live there. I loved everything about Ember and Chase! They were both realistic, intelligent, and so much stronger in those awful situations than I would ever be. You can see how much they grow and change from even before the first chapter to the end after everything goes to hell. You love them and hate all the terribly people who try to hurt them. It's a flurry of emotion! And Ember and Chase together were just PERFECT. ♥ Childhood romances have always been a favourite of mine, but the way Kristen Simmons wrote this one — where they've been wrenched apart and thrown back together years later, having to learn to trust all over again — just stole my breath away. Watching them reconnect was so achingly beautiful. Intensely heart-pounding, original, and action-packed, Article 5 was a debut that gripped me from the first page and left me breathless until the last! It's everything that an amazing dystopian book should be. A definite must-read! :) BUY or BORROW?: Do you even have to ask??? Definitely a book you need to buy!! You won't regret it! :)
Date published: 2012-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dystopian Gem The trend of YA dystopia continues as we make our way into 2012. In this particular version of the future a great war has happened (the cause of which I'm a little unsure on) and in order to "rebuild society" a new type of government with some crazy and suppressive rules springs up. Ember Miller tries to keep her head down in this new society, but there is no way she could have protected herself against the supposed "crimes" of her mother that happened before she was even born. Now I love dystopia fiction, but at this point there have been so many YA novels in this genre, that I always go in a little cautiously. Thankfully, however, Article 5 captured many of those elements of dystopia that make me love it so ferociously. In particular, I loved this book because it stirred up such a strong emotional reaction from me. The Moral Statutes set out a system where women are to become submissive to men. The feminist in me was pulling out my hair at this. (I even wrote a whole post about it here). It was such a despicable, well imagined society that it had me clamouring to fight back against it. To take a stand alongside Ember or start my very own resistance movement. I also really liked Ember. Not because there was anything particularly special about her - she was just an ordinary girl, stuck in an impossible situation. No, I liked her because of her bond with her mother. Ember is a fighter. She's scrappy and determined and she won't let anyone get in her way and prevent her from achieving her goal. And her goal isn't to save herself, or be with the boy she loves (though there is a love interest involved). Her sole driving force is to save her mother. I found this admirable. I have a close realtionship with my mother as well and hope I would demonstrate the same courage that Ember did, if a similar situation should ever arise (heaven forbid!). In conclusion, Article 5 is an entertaining and thought provoking dystopian novel. It is a gem in what is arguably an over-saturated market - so if you liked dystopian fiction I highly recommend you add Article 5 to your list. This and other reviews at Christa's Hooked on Books (
Date published: 2012-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compliance is Mandatory: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons is Heartwarming and Bone-chilling *A copy was provided by the publisher pre-onsale date for review* When it comes to a novel, first impressions are everything. Article 5 immediately introduced me to a world where the freedom we are fortunate enough to have in the present day is gone. Now, you know just as well as I do that an aspect like that is far from uncommon in the post-apocalyptic genre. What makes novels in the genre unique, however, is whether or not the author has the ability to weave an exciting and worthwhile dialogue that easily sets itself apart from the others. Article 5 succeeded in that endeavor. Meet Ember Miller, a seventeen year old in a futuristic society where woman subservience is enforced by it's rather questionable statutes. Living with her mother, Ember finds herself living in the society's shadows, keeping a low profile. However, when her mother is suddenly arrested and Ember is taken to a rehabilitation center by Chase Jennings, the only boy she's ever loved, Ember takes it upon herself to escape and save her mother. Bone chilling yet heart warming, an odd combination, wouldn't you agree? However, as odd as it might sound, it perfectly describes the events of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. It's been a long time since a post-apocalyptic novel has shaken me so greatly! (Think: Delirium by Lauren Oliver). Woman subservience, though as common as it is in post-apocalyptic titles, is never an easy subject to read. By nature, I'm a fierce person who stands for independence, and I believe that's why I connected with Ember so easily. She wasn't someone who kept her mouth shut and submitted (Thank God!) but she wasn't someone to stupidly leap before looking. She was a keen observer of her surroundings and her options; a survivor. Chase Jennings, the boy who is introduced as the one Ember has always loved, was someone I couldn't figure out in the beginning. I wouldn't say his persona is mysterious because, frankly, he was rather transparent in his intentions right from the beginning. However, moving deeper into Article 5, I found myself connecting more and more with Chase. I started to find myself seeing things through his eyes and understanding his behavior despite the solo perspective of Ember. [Slight spoiler below: Nothing extreme, but be cautious] Speaking of Chase, I was surprised to find that there were two sides to him. There was the present Chase that readers were introduced to at the moment of the arrest, and the Chase from the past. The Chase from the past, one that was significantly different than present Chase, was clued into the storyline in mini-flashback intervals throughout the novel. Readers, you'll find yourself loving these flashbacks! I know I did! [End of slight spoiler] Kristen Simmons is a wonderful talent! I'm not often gripped by an author's writing, it's usually the story that pulls me in. However, with Kristen Simmons' writing, I was instantly pulled into the story and easily envisioned Ember's surroundings as if they were my very own. This may sound a little too hopeful, but I can easily imagine Article 5 on the big screen. The action was intense, the drama beyond emotional, and the development completely unpredictable. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons will not disappoint. You'll be instantly pulled into a futuristic world that awkwardly steps into the past with issues like woman subservience. Readers who love the post-apocalyptic genre will find themselves reading this gem in one sitting.
Date published: 2012-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic read!! There are only a few books that managed to keep me up at night this year, when I think about it only 5 books managed that and ARTICLE 5 is one of them. I expected a lot when I requested that book and I have to admit that it met and even exceeded my expectations. I’m very honored to have had the chance to receive an ARC for Article 5. I don’t really know what I can say about that book except that I loved absolutely everything. The storyline is fantastic, it’s not just another dystopian novel as some of you might think, Ember, our main character remember how our world used to be. The plot is very consistent and so well written that Kristen managed to convey feelings that literally made my chest ache. This story made me ache, made me cry, made me long, made me angry….I felt so many strong things while reading the book once again proving the quality of the story along with the quality of the writing. The dynamic between Ember and Chase is bittersweet. You love them, you want them together and yet you wonder if, with everything that have happened and will happen through the novel, there is a possible future for them. What I like is how Kristen also bring forward some of Ember memories concerning Chase. You can see the relationship they had before he joined the MM which makes you ache even more on the way they are now and help you understand Ember confused feelings toward him. You somehow suspect one of the plot line but it doesn’t matter the story is a seamless read and I really had to talk myself out of reading well past midnight. The Characters Chase and Ember are not perfect. They both have flaws and make mistakes making them all more ‘real’. Ember is a very lovable protagonist, brave…you can’t help but root for her. The song that for me is perfect for the books and the characters Ember and Chase is “Reason to Hope” by Ron Pope…Insanely perfect for that book “When all the things I need feel just like a dream And every breath I breathe is so hard Well I just want a reason to hope A reason to know that I should till be here” The book doesn’t end with a cruel cliffhanger even if you have questions left. Now I’m dying for book two and continue Ember adventure!! In conclusion I adored that book. It’s definitely making my top 5 of this year reads. A MUST read for any fan of the dystopian genre…even if you are not, it’s a must read anyways.
Date published: 2011-12-04

Read from the Book

CHAPTER1 BETH and Ryan were holding hands. It was enough to risk a formal citation for indecency, and they knew better, but I didn’t say anything. Curfew rounds wouldn’t begin for another two hours, and freedom was stolen in moments like these.“Slow down, Ember,” Ryan called.Instead I walked faster, pulling away from our pack.“Leave her alone,” I heard Beth whisper. My face heated as I realized how I must look: not like a conscientious friend who was minding her own business, but like a bitter third wheel who couldn’t stand seeing other couples happy. Which wasn’t true—mostly.Sheepishly, I fell into step beside Beth.My best friend was tall for a girl, with an explosion of dark freckles centered at her nose and a cap of squiggly red hair that was untamable on chilly days like this one. She traded Ryan’s arm for mine—which, if I was honest, did make me feel a little safer—and without a word, we danced on our tiptoes around the massive cracks in the sidewalk, just like we’d done since the fourth grade.When the concrete path succumbed to gravel, I raised the front of my too-long khaki skirt so the hem didn’t drag in the dust. I hated this skirt. The matching button-up top was so boxy and stiff that it made even busty Beth look flat as an ironing board. School uniforms were part of President Scarboro’s new Moral Statute—one of many that had taken effect after the War—mandating that appearances comply with gender roles. I didn’t know what gender they’d been aiming for with this outfit. Clearly it wasn’t female.We stopped at the gas station on the corner out of habit. Though it was the only one in the county still open, the lot was empty. Not many people could afford cars anymore.We never went inside. There would be snacks and candy bars on the racks, all priced ten times higher than they’d been last year, and we didn’t have any money. We stayed where we were welcome—on the outside. Three feet removed from the hundreds of tiny faces imprisoned behind the tinted glass. The board read:MISSING! IF SIGHTED, CONTACT THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF REFORMATION IMMEDIATELY!Silently, we scanned the photographs of the foster-care runaways and escaped criminals for anyone we might know, checking for one picture in particular. Katelyn Meadows. A girl with auburn hair and a perky smile, who’d been in my junior history class last year. Mrs. Matthews had just told her she’d gotten the highest grade in the class on her midterm when the soldiers had arrived to take her to trial. “Article 1 violation,” they’d said. Noncompliance with the national religion. It wasn’t as if she’d been caught worshipping the devil; she’d missed school for Passover, and it had gone on to the school board as an unauthorized absence.That was the last time anyone had seen her.The next week Mrs. Matthews had been forced to take the Bill of Rights out of the curriculum. There was no discussion permitted on the topic. The soldiers posted at the door and at the recruiting table in the cafeteria made sure of that.Two months after Katelyn’s trial, her family had moved away. Her phone number had been disconnected. It was as if she’d never existed.Katelyn and I hadn’t been friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her; I thought she was all right, actually. We always said hi, if not much more. But since her sudden disappearance, something dark had kindled inside of me. I’d been more on guard. As compliant with the Statutes as possible. I didn’t like to sit in the front row of class anymore, and I never walked home from school alone.I couldn’t be taken. I had to look out for my mother.I finished my review. No Katelyn Meadows. Not this week.“Did you hear about Mary What’s-her-name?” Beth asked as we resumed our walk to my house. “She’s a sophomore I think.”“Let’s see, Mary What’s-her-name,” said Ryan pensively, pushing the glasses up his sharp nose. His uniform jacket made him look studious, whereas the other guys at school always looked like their mothers had dressed them up for Easter Sunday.“No. What happened to her?” A chill tickled my skin.“Same thing as Katelyn. Moral Militia came to take her to trial, and no one’s seen her in a week.” Beth’s voice lowered, as it did when she suspected someone might be listening.My stomach sank. They weren’t actually called the Moral Militia, but they might as well have been. The uniformed soldiers actually belonged to the Federal Bureau of Reformation—the branch of the military the president had created at the end of the War three years ago. Their purpose was to enforce compliance with the Moral Statutes, to halt the chaos that had reigned during the five years that America had been mercilessly attacked. The hammer had come down hard: Any violation against the Statutes led to a citation, and in the worst cases, resulted in a trial before the FBR Board. People who went to trial—like Katelyn—didn’t usually come back.There were all sorts of theories. Prison. Deportation. A few months ago I’d heard a crazy homeless man spouting off about mass executions, before he’d been carted away. Regardless of the rumors, reality was bleak. With each new Statute issued, the MM became more powerful, more self-righteous. Hence the nickname.“They took a freshman from gym, too,” said Ryan soberly. “I heard they didn’t even let him change back into his uniform.”First Katelyn Meadows, now Mary Something and another boy. And Mary and the boy within the last two weeks. I remembered when school had been safe—the only place we didn’t have to think about the War. Now kids never ditched. There weren’t any fights. People even turned in their homework on time. Everyone was scared their teacher would report them to the MM.As we turned up my empty driveway, I glanced next door. The boxy house’s white paneling was stained by dust and rain. The bushes had overgrown so much that they connected over the concrete steps. Long, fragile cobwebs sagged from the overhang. It looked haunted. In a way, it was.That had been his house. The house of the boy I loved.Deliberately, I looked away and climbed our front porch stairs to let my friends inside.My mother was sitting on the couch. She had at least four too many clips in her hair and was wearing a shirt that she’d stolen from my closet. I didn’t mind. The truth was I wasn’t much into clothes. Sorting through a collection of worn hand-me-downs at a donation center hadn’t exactly cultivated my desire to shop.What I did mind was that she was reading a paperback with a half-naked pirate on the cover. That stuff was illegal now. She’d probably gotten it from someone she volunteered with at the soup kitchen. The place was chock-full of unemployed women spreading their passive-aggressive contraband beneath the Moral Militia’s nose.“Hi, baby. Hi, kids,” my mother said, hardly moving. She didn’t look up until she finished reading her page, then she jammed a bookmark in place and stood. I kept my mouth shut about the book, even though I probably should have told her not to bring that stuff home. It obviously made her happy, and it was better than her reading it on the porch, like she sometimes did when feeling particularly mutinous.“Hi, Mom.”She kissed me noisily on the cheek, then hugged my friends at the same time before releasing us to our homework.We pulled out our big heavy books and began deciphering the mechanical world of precalculus. It was horrid work—I detested math—but Beth and I had made a pact not to drop. Rumor was, next year, girls weren’t even going to be able to take math anymore, so we suffered through in silent rebellion.Smiling sympathetically at my expression, my mother patted my head and offered to make us all hot chocolate. After a few minutes of frustration, I followed her into the kitchen. She’d forgotten to water her ficus plant again, and it drooped pitifully. I filled a glass from the sink and poured it into the pot.“Bad day?” she ventured. She spooned the chocolate powder into four mugs from a blue canister with a picture of a sunrise on the front. Horizons brand food was government owned, and all we could get with our meal rations.I leaned against the counter and scuffed my heel against the floor, still thinking about the two new abductees, the contraband. The empty house next door.“I’m fine,” I lied. I didn’t want to scare her by telling her about Mary Something, and I still didn’t want to rag her about the book. She hated when I got on her back about the rules. She could be sort of reactive sometimes.“How was work?” I changed the subject. She didn’t get paid at the soup kitchen, but we still called it work. It made her feel better.She didn’t miss my obvious avoidance, but she let it drop and launched into a full story about Misty Something dating Kelly Something’s boyfriend from high school, and … I didn’t bother keeping up. I just nodded and soon was smiling. Her enthusiasm was infectious. By the time the teakettle whistled, I felt much better.She was reaching for the mugs when someone knocked on the door. I went to answer it, thinking that it was probably Mrs. Crowley from across the street, stopping by to visit my mother like she did every day.“Ember, wait—” The fear in Beth’s voice made me stop and turn back toward the living room. She was kneeling on the couch, her hand on the curtain. The color had drained from her already-fair complexion.But it was too late. My mom unlatched the dead bolt and opened the door.Two Moral Militia soldiers stood on our front steps.They were in full uniform: navy blue flak jackets with large wooden buttons, and matching pants that bloused into shiny boots. The most recognized insignia in the country, the American flag flying over a cross, was painted on their breast pockets, just above the initials FBR. Each of them had a standard-issue black baton, a radio, and a gun on his belt.One of the soldiers had short brown hair that grayed around his temples, and wrinkles around the corners of his mouth that made him appear too old for his age. His narrow companion brushed at his tawny mustache impatiently.I sagged in disappointment. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had hoped that one of them was him. It was a fleeting moment of weakness whenever I saw a uniform, and I kicked myself for it.“Ms. Lori Whittman?” The first soldier asked, without looking her in the face.“Yes,” my mother replied slowly.“I need to see some ID.” He didn’t bother to introduce himself, but his name tag read BATEMAN. The other was CONNER.“Is there a problem?” There was a snarky tinge to her tone, one I hoped they didn’t pick up on. Beth came up close behind me, and I could feel Ryan beside her.“Just get your ID, ma’am,” Bateman said irritably.My mother pulled away from the door without inviting them in. I blocked the threshold, trying not to look as small as I felt. I could not let them search the house; we had too much contraband out to avoid a citation. I tilted my head subtly to Beth, and she meandered back to the couch, stuffing the romance novel my mother had been reading beneath the cushions. My mind raced through the other things she had: more inappropriate paperbacks, old magazines from before the War, a home manicure kit. I’d even heard that my favorite book, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, had made the list, and I knew that was right on top of my nightstand. We weren’t scheduled for an inspection tonight; we’d just had one last month. Everything had been left out.A burning ignited in my chest, like the flicker of a lighter. And then I could hear my heart, thudding against my ribs. It startled me. A long time had passed since I’d been aware of that feeling.Bateman tried to look past me, but I blocked his view. His brow lifted in judgment, and my blood boiled. Over the past year the MM’s presence in Louisville—and all the remaining U.S. cities—had increased tenfold. It seemed there wasn’t enough for them to do; harassing citizens appeared to be a high priority. I stuffed down the resentment and tried to stay composed. It was unwise to be impolite to the MM.There were two cars parked on the street, a blue van and a smaller car that looked like an old police cruiser. On the side of each was the FBR emblem. I didn’t need to read the motto below to know what it said: One Whole Country, One Whole Family. It always gave me a little jolt of inadequacy, like my little two-person family wasn’t whole enough.There was someone in the driver’s seat of the van, and another soldier outside on the sidewalk in front of our house. As I watched, the back of the van opened and two more soldiers hopped out onto the street.Something was wrong. There were too many soldiers here just to fine us for violating a Statute.My mom returned to the door, digging through her purse. Her face was flushed. I stepped shoulder to shoulder with her and forced my breath to steady.She found her wallet and pulled out her ID. Bateman checked it quickly before stuffing it into the front pocket of his shirt. Conner lifted a paper I hadn’t seen him holding, ripped off the sticky backing, and slapped it against our front door.The Moral Statutes.“Hey,” I heard myself say. “What are you—”“Lori Whittman, you are under arrest for violation of the Moral Statutes, Section 2, Article 5, Part A revised, pertaining to children conceived out of wedlock.”“Arrest?” My mom’s voice hitched. “What do you mean?”My mind flashed through the rumors I’d heard about sending people to prison for Statute violations, and I realized with a sick sense of dread that these weren’t rumors at all. It was Katelyn Meadows all over again.“Article 5!” Ryan blurted from behind us. “How could that apply to them?”“The current version was revised on February twenty-fourth. It includes all dependent children under the age of eighteen.”“February twenty-fourth? That was only Monday!” Beth said sharply.Conner reached across the threshold of our home and grabbed my mother’s shoulder, pulling her forward. Instinctively, I wrapped both hands around his forearm.“Let go, miss,” he said curtly. He looked at me for the first time, but his eyes were strange, as if they didn’t register that I was present. I loosened my hold but did not release his arm.“What do you mean ‘arrest’?” My mother was still trying to process.“It’s quite clear, Ms. Whittman.” Bateman’s tone was condescending. “You are out of compliance with the Moral Statutes and will be tried by a senior officer of the Federal Bureau of Reformation.”I struggled against Conner’s firm hold on her shoulder. He was pulling us outside. I asked him to stop, but he ignored me.Bateman restrained my mother’s opposite shoulder, dragging her down the steps. Conner released her arm for a moment to jerk me aside, and with a stunted cry, I fell. The grass was cold and damp and soaked through my skirt at the hip, but the blood burned in my face and neck. Beth ran to my side.“What’s going on here?” I glanced up and saw Mrs. Crowley, our neighbor, wrapped in a shawl and wearing sweatpants. “Lori! Are you all right, Lori? Ember!”I sprang to my feet. My eyes shot to the soldier who had been waiting outside. He had an athletic build and gelled blond hair, neatly parted on the side. His tongue slid over his teeth beneath pursed lips, reminding me of the way sand shifts when a snake slithers beneath it.He was walking straight toward me.No! The breath scraped my throat. I fought the urge to run.“Don’t touch me!” my mother shrieked at Bateman.“Ms. Whittman, don’t make this harder than it has to be,” responded Bateman. My stomach pitched at the apathy in his voice.“Get the hell off my property,” my mother demanded, fury stabbing through her fear. “We’re not animals; we’re people! We have rights! You’re old enough to remember—–”“Mom!” I interrupted. She was just going to make it worse. “Officer, this isn’t right. This is a mistake.” My voice sounded far away.“There’s no mistake, Ms. Miller. Your records have already been reviewed for noncompliance,” said Morris, the soldier before me. His green eyes flashed. He was getting too close.In a split second, his vicelike fists shot out and trapped both my wrists. I bucked against him, retracting my arms in an attempt to shake him loose. He was stronger and jerked me close, so that our bodies slapped together. The breath was squashed from my lungs.For a second I saw the hint of a smirk cross his face. His hands, cuffing my fists, slipped behind my lower back and drew me in tighter. Every part of me went rigid.A warning screamed in my head. I tried to get away, but this seemed to drive new excitement into him. He was actually enjoying this. His hard grip was making my hands prickle with numbness.Somewhere in the street I heard a car door slam.“Stop,” I managed.“Let go!” Beth shouted at him.Conner and Bateman pulled my mother away. Morris’s hands were still on my wrists. I heard nothing over the ringing in my ears.And then I saw him.His hair was black and gleaming in the last splinters of sunlight. It was short now, cleanly cut like the other soldiers’, and his eyes, sharp as a wolf’s, were so dark I could barely see the pupils. JENNINGS was spelled out in perfect gold letters over the breast of his pressed uniform. I had never in my life seen him look so grave. He was nearly unrecognizable.My heart was beating quickly, fearfully, but beating all the same. Just because he was near. My body had sensed him before my mind had.“Chase?” I asked.I thought of many things all at the same time. I wanted to run to him despite everything. I wanted him to hold me as he had the night before he’d left. But the pain of his absence returned fast, and reality sliced at my insides.He’d chosen this over me.I grasped on to the hope that maybe he could help us.Chase said nothing. His jaw was bulging, as though he was grinding his teeth, but otherwise his face revealed no emotion, no indication that the home he’d been raised in was twenty feet away. He stood between where Morris held me and the van. It occurred to me that he was the driver.“Don’t forget why you’re here,” Bateman snapped at him.“Chase, tell them they’re wrong.” I looked straight at him.He didn’t look at me. He didn’t even move.“Enough. Get back in the van, Jennings!” ordered Bateman.“Chase!” I shouted. I felt my face twist with confusion. Was he really going to ignore me?“Don’t speak to him,” Bateman snapped at me. “Will someone please do something with this girl?”My terror grew, closing off the world around me. Chase’s presence didn’t soothe me as it had in the past. The mouth that had once curved into a smile and softened against my lips was a hard, grim line. There was no warmth in him now. This was not the Chase I remembered. This wasn’t my Chase.I couldn’t take my eyes off of his face. The pain in my chest nearly doubled me over.Morris jerked me up, and instinct tore through me. I reared back, breaking free from his grasp, and wrapped my arms around my mother’s shoulders. Someone yanked me back. My grip was slipping. They were pulling her away from me.“NO!” I screamed.“Let go of her!” I heard a soldier bark. “Or we’ll take you, too, Red.”Beth’s fists, which had knotted in my school uniform, were torn from my clothing. Through tear-filled eyes I saw that Ryan had restrained her, his face contorted with guilt. Beth was crying, reaching out for me. I didn’t let go of my mother.“Okay, okay,” I heard my mother say. Her words came out very fast. “Please, officer, please let us go. We can talk right here.”A sob broke from my throat. I couldn’t stand the obedience in her tone. She was so afraid. They were trying to separate us again, and I knew, more than anything else, that I could not let them do that.“Be gentle with them, please! Please!” Mrs. Crowley begged.In one heave, Morris ripped me from my mother. Enraged, I swiped at his face. My nails caught the thin skin of his neck, and he swore loudly.I saw the world through a crimson veil. I wanted him to attack me just so I could lash out at him again.His green eyes were beady in anger, and he snarled as he jerked the nightstick from his hip. In a flash it was swinging back above his head.I braced my arms defensively over my face.“STOP!” My mother’s pitch was strident. I could hear it above the screaming adrenaline in my ears.Someone pushed me, and I was flung hard to the ground, my hair covering my face, blocking my vision. There was a stinging in my chest that stole the breath from my lungs. I crawled back to my knees.“Jennings!” I heard Bateman shout. “Your CO will hear about this!”Chase was standing in front of me, blocking my view.“Don’t hurt him!” I panted. Morris’s weapon was still ready to strike, though now it was aimed at Chase.“You don’t need that.” Chase’s voice was very low. Morris lowered the stick.“You said you’d be cool,” he hissed, glaring at Chase.Had Chase told this soldier—Morris—about me? Were they friends? How could he be friends with someone like that?Chase said nothing. He didn’t move.“Stand down, Jennings,” Bateman commanded.I scrambled up and glared at the man in charge. “Who the hell do you think you are?”“Watch your mouth,” snapped Bateman. “You’ve already struck a soldier. How much deeper a hole are you looking to dig?”I could hear my mother arguing through her hiccuping sobs. When they began to move her toward the van again, I lunged forward, my hands tangling in Chase’s uniform. Desperation blanketed me. They were going to take her away.“Chase, please,” I begged. “Please tell them this is a mistake. Tell them we’re good people. You know us. You know me.”He shook me off as though some disgusting thing had touched him. That stung more than anything could in this moment. I stared at him in shock.The defeat was devastating.My arms were pulled behind me and latched into place by Morris’s strong grip. I didn’t care. I couldn’t even feel them.Chase stepped away from me. Bateman and Conner ushered my mother to the van. She looked over her shoulder at me with scared eyes.“It’s okay, baby,” she called, trying to sound confident. “I’ll find out who’s responsible for this, and we’ll have a nice long chat.”My gut twisted at the prospect.“She doesn’t even have her shoes on!” I shouted at the soldiers.There were no more words as they loaded my mother in the back of the van. When she disappeared inside, I felt something tear within me, loosing what felt like acid into my chest. It scalded my insides. It made my breath come faster, made my throat burn and my lungs clench.“Walk to the car,” Morris ordered.“What? No!” Beth cried. “You can’t take her!”“What are you doing?” Ryan demanded.“Ms. Miller is being taken into custody by the federal government in accordance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. She’s going into rehabilitation.”I was getting very tired all of a sudden. My thoughts weren’t making sense. Blurry lines formed around my vision, but I couldn’t blink them back. I gulped down air, but there wasn’t enough.“Don’t fight me, Ember,” Chase ordered quietly. My heart broke to hear him say my name.“Why are you doing this?” The sound of my voice was distant and weak. He didn’t answer me. I didn’t expect an answer anyway.They led me to the car, parked behind the van. Chase opened the door to the backseat and sat me down roughly. I fell to my side, feeling the leather dampen from my tears.Then Chase was gone. And though my heart quieted, the pain in my chest remained. It stole my breath and swallowed me whole, and I tumbled into darkness. Copyright © 2012 by Kristen Simmons

Editorial Reviews

"Kristen Simmons' Article 5 is a gripping, atmospheric story of survival. Alongside a fierce depiction of oppressive government, Simmons has created a bleak portrait of an America lost. I could hardly put it down. Ember Miller and Chase Jennings can be my post-apocalyptic wingmen anytime." -Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood"Subversion. Defiance. Desperate, struggling humanity in the face of state-sponsored tyranny. This book was engrossing, unpredictable and thoroughly REAL. Loved it." -Jay Kristoff, author of Stormdancer"Fast-paced, emotional and nail-bitingingly intense, Article 5 gripped me from page one and didn't let me go once.""There are only a few books that managed to keep me up at night this year, and ARTICLE 5 is one of them. A MUST read for any fan of the dystopian genre.even if you are not, it's a must read anyways." -Book Reader Addicts