My Thoughts On: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Posted December 28, 2011 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 6 Comments

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Published by 
Tor Teen 

Publish Date:  February 2012
368 Pages
My Source:  Borrowed

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons 

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The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.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.  -(summary from

My Thoughts:  Three years ago, the Federal Bureau of Reformation (aka the Moral Militia) was created after the war to enforce their Moral Statutes. Violation of these Statutes bring a citation and sometimes trial; going to trial usually means you don’t come back. In a world where morality used to be subjective, it has now become the law, and compliance is mandatory

Ember Miller has been arrested for noncompliance with Section 2, Article 5, which pertains to conception out of wedlock. Ember was taken to a rehab center to be groomed on how to become moral and chaste. She was horrified to realize that one of the officers at her arrest was none other than Chase Jennings, her past love. 

From the moment Ember is arrested, there is nothing but action. 

Let’s discuss Article 5:

1. The Characters

  • Ember Miller. 17 years old, arrested early in the book for being born to an unwed mother. Sent to be rehabilitated by the Moral Militia, but instead learns exactly what sorts of things the government has been doing behind the backs of its citizens. Beaten and tortured for speaking out and defending others. Devises a plan to escape, knowing that it will most likely cost her life. Ember is brave, smart, strong, and impulsive. She’s scared but doesn’t let it stop her. She’s young and fierce, a great protagonist.  
  • Chase Jennings. One of the officers who is present when Ember is arrested, it becomes clear that they have an emotional past of some sort. Ember is devastated to see him there, not trying to stop her arrest. Chase is handsome, well-built, tall, and a member of the FBR. He’s quiet, broody, and mysterious. In the beginning of the book, I was unsure of him, but the more I found out about him, the harder I fell for him. Chase has a plan that Ember doesn’t know about, and wow wow wow… He is marvelously written, and he is another of my book crushes.  
  • The Villains. There are a ton of awful, awful people in this book – and they all work for the government. They are horrid and despicable and downright scary. And wonderfully written. But scary. 
Ember is a great character, very defined and developed, and a joy to read…but Chase is the jewel in this book. He is so mysterious and only reveals himself to us in tiny bits…so three-dimensional by the end of the book… Characters like Chase are among my favorite. Loved him

2. The Government. Founded on the Moral Statutes, which are no longer subjective but mandated. The FBR is just awful behind the scenes, of course, while making the country think they have their best interest at heart. There is so much irony in the Moral Statutes and their enforcement:  officers use brutality, starvation, sexual harassment, and murder to carry out the enforcement of these moral laws without so much as a slap on the wrist by the government. Dystopian books with governing bodies like this one are so interesting to me and so, so scary. This one is quite believable and it is easy to daydream of how easily the times could change to be just like they are in Article 5

3. The Setting. The building of this world is not my favorite in this genre, but there are some great settings built. The world itself is described at the beginning of the book – in certain parts – as desolate, where entire towns have been evacuated in some instances. In contrast, toward the end of the book, the setting is a very large metropolitan area where there are thousands and thousands of people ranging from poor and hungry to very wealthy. Perhaps my favorite setting descriptions are those of the rehab center and the prison, because of their awful-ness. I could visualize these places quite easily and, well, isn’t that what we want in an excellent setting? 

4. Betrayal. There is betrayal all throughout the book, from betrayal between friends to betrayal by the government to betrayal by the rehab staff to betrayal by safe houses along the escape route. There really was no one to trust, and this was so scary to read. Ember’s character grew throughout everything and by the end of the book, she was amazingly resilient and strong. 

We learn of betrayal by Chase at the beginning – when he joined the FBR. We learn these details in small pieces throughout the story, mostly through italicized flashbacks. With every detail, it stings us – but for different reasons each time. Oh, so cleverly written! But the betrayal does not end there and it is gut-wrenching and beautiful and filled with pain. Which brings me to…

5. The Romance. From the beginning, it is clear that there was a past romance between Ember and Chase, which fizzled out sometime after he joined the FBR. Ember held very strong feelings of hatred and disdain for him for his treatment of her after joining, and she understandably did not trust him at all. Being thrust back into his care, though, meant that she would be forced to trust him whether she wanted to or not and oh my gracious the feelings between these two run so deep, you guys. The problem is that neither one will allow themselves nor the other one to realize it…

…and we end up with an absolutely stunning, amazing, beautiful slow-burn…a rebirth of feelings that never died between these two people that loved each other so much. And there is a story buried underneath this dystopia that will knock your socks off. Trust me. Trust me

Don’t be fooled by the mention of a slow-burn romance; there is some big-time meat to this story. I never felt like the romance overshadowed the real issues that were packed in there – the big things to think about:  a government with too much power, the deterioration of society, a set of morals mandated and punishable by law, censorship, things like that. At times, the events that unfold are pretty devastating, but the story is excellent and well worth the read for any lover of this genre. 

Article 5 is a book that is action-driven and fast-paced. The characters are great and the plot is thick and interesting. The situations in this story are believable and that is what makes them so horrifying and scary. I started this story a little unsure of what I was getting myself into but ended up staying up most of the night with palpitations, barely breathing. 

I recommend Article 5 for fans of the dystopian genre. If you are a lover of a strong female protagonist, you’ll love this book as well. There’s a slow-burn romance without the presence of a love triangle, so if that matters to you, add this one to your wish list. If you are a fan of action-driven stories, you love villains, and you love reading about a crazy, twisted society…Article 5 is definitely for you. It’s certainly one to look forward to in January 2012, and I myself am already looking forward to the next book in the series. I really want to see where this story will go. 

*I borrowed this book as part of Around The World Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I received no compensation for my review. 


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


6 responses to “My Thoughts On: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

  1. Oh, I have been wanting to read this…and you just made it so much worse!!! Awesome review. I love the sound of a slow-burn romance that does not get in the way of the story.

  2. that's an awesome review chica! looks like i could learn some stuff from you! 🙂

    this books sounds awesome! love that you reviewed it in depth without giving it all away 🙂

  3. This review is awesome! I've never heard of it and probably would have passed it by without seeing your review. I am a lover of dystopian novels ESPECIALLY with strong female protags!

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