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havenReviewed by Jessa Larsen

The outside world, beyond the stone wall surrounding the Haven, is a dangerous, mysterious place for the teens who live inside the hospital. It has been that way for them since the hospital was established in 2020. But the Haven is more than just a hospital to these young teens–it’s their home, the only home they have ever known. But the rules are strict there. Everything is strictly monitored including their education, health, food intake, and sleeping habits. These rules are here for a reason in order to keep the teens healthy and help control the disease that has gotten them labeled as Terminals. They must control the disease the best they can since it claims limbs and various other parts of their anatomy, inside and out.

Most of the teens are content, living a comfortable day to day life as long as their name isn’t called out during lunchtime. But not Shiloh. Shiloh is somehow different. She remembers things that others don’t seem to have any knowledge of whatsoever. Gideon is different too. He dreams of a cure for the Terminals. He dreams of rebelling against the higher powers who control everything at the Haven. Together they begin to question everything. What if they’ve been fed lies?What if the Haven is not as safe as it seems? And what happens to the people who have asked questions in the past?

If you’ve ever read the whole cloning for organ transplant storyline before, this story isn’t going to be fresh and new for you. If you’ve seen The Island, it’s almost identical–just trade adults for teenagers. The teens are clones but they don’t know it and two of the teens happen to sense that something isn’t quite right. The Haven didn’t really come across as original or unique in any way and even if the author didn’t do this intentionally, she had clearly watched the aforementioned movie recently. I don’t have an issue with reading a fresh take on the same old story, but nothing seemed to chime as new or original in this one. Once I got past the first few (intentionally?) confusing chapters, I was bored and could predict exactly how this was going to end. I won’t spoil it entirely, but I promise you’re going to see it coming from miles and miles away. If you’re on an island, you’d be able to spot the mainland.

I also have a few gripes with the authors that come out of Utah. There’s a certain naivete about growing up in the Utah bubble and it’s very relatable if you’ve ever met someone that was born and raised in that culture and religion. I don’t mind a clean, family friendly style, but there’s something about the way LDS authors write that gives them away. I just can’t get into the “Gosh, I’m really into some deep sugar over here” type of dialogue and it may just be me, but it really gets in the way of the story. I finished reading, took a look at the author’s bio and sure enough she writes for Mormon Young Adults. How did I ever guess?

Either way, I think that the story and the author have some definite potential, but it didn’t happen in The Haven. You might be able to convince me to read more by this author in the future, but you’d probably have to bribe me with a couple dozen cookies.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.