Dashner, James. 2009. THE MAZE RUNNER. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780385737944 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 12]
As Thomas wakes up in a dark elevator, he remembers one thing, his first name. The elevator deposits him into the Glade where he finds himself with other boys who, like him, have no previous memory. They all have found that they must survive in the labyrinth-type maze surrounded by massive walls that close every night and protect the Gladers from nasty creatures that roam the maze surrounding their home. Thomas vaguely recognizes the location. For some reason, he knows he is meant to be a Maze Runner, a member of an elite group who seeks a way out of the Glade. The tension increases with the arrival of Teresa who gives Thomas a message that is followed by a series of events that cause the already dismal situation to deteriorate. She is also vaguely familiar, and her arrival makes the other boys question Thomas’ loyalty.
THE MAZE RUNNER is a fast-paced and engaging novel that piques readers’ interest by keeping them guessing. The plot is expertly woven and suspense is built mostly through Thomas’ attempts to get answers, which few of the boys are willing to give. Dashner’s writing is clear and age appropriate and shows the gritty determination of the boys who are faced with impossible obstacles as they figure out how to trust one another and find a way out of the Glade.
Readers can create board games based on the novel and libraries or classrooms can host a gaming event that allows participants to play one another’s games.
Other science fiction novels that center around games:
Card, Orson Scott. ENDER’S GAME. ISBN 9780812550702
Collins, Suzanne. HUNGER GAMES. ISBN 9780439023481
By Brandi D. Grant