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Review: The Registry by Shannon Stoker

the registry
the registry
the registry


Highlights: The underlying political statements, combined with the slowly-revealed history of The Registry, are fascinating.
Synopsis: In a future dystopian America, girls must register to be auctioned off as brides and boys must become soldiers. Two friends, Mia and Whitney, are determined to escape to Mexico or die trying to avoid their fate.
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7/ 14

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The premise here is very exciting and had a lot of potential as a dystopian novel.


Unfortunately, the novel fell flat on many levels for this reviewer.

Posted March 10, 2014 by

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the registry

The Registry saved America after a series of wars and conflicts left the country shattered. Women are valued above men, with daughters being the ideal outcome of a marriage. From a young age, daughters are priced for marriage. Daughters are commodities, sold via The Registry to the highest bidder. The most beautiful girls go for the highest price, and everything possible is done to make sure that happens. Boys, on the other hand, are unwanted. They are all forced to join the military as soldiers, since that is the only value they have to society.

Enter our main character, Mia. Mia has been born and bred for The Registry. She’s beautiful, and that’s about it. Education is a not a priority for girls on The Registry, so she is barely literate and cannot do math. She only knows that her first kiss will be with the man who will pay $500,000 for her on her wedding day, though she has no choice in who that will be. $500,000 is a particularly high amount for a wife, so Mia knows she will be given to one of the wealthiest men in the country.

However, Mia’s worldview is challenged when her older sister escapes an abusive marriage and shows Mia a foriegn article about the enslavement of women in the United States. Everything Mia was taught to believe comes crashing down, and she decides to run to Mexico to escape slavery. Her friend Whitney comes with her, since Whitney is on The Registry but has not been sold, much to her dismay. They basically blackmail a farm boy, Andrew (our loooooooove interest) and drive toward the border for a new life, trying to outrun Mia’s betrothed.

The premise was promising, and the underlying political statements  combined with the slowly-revealed history of The Registry in the novel were really quite fascinating. But it just was not well executed. The main fault was in the characters. Mia’s character was not believable or consistent, Whitney was ridiculous and childish, and Andrew felt more like a caricature of a brainwashed farm boy than a real person. The antagonists also felt like caricatures in a Looney Tunes short, completely flat and completely evil.

Overall, the novel just fell flat on many levels. The holes in the plot were huge. It is not the most horrible young adult/new adult novel on the shelf, but there is a reason this was released directly to paperback. The sequel, The Collectionwas just released in February and the conclusion to the trilogy, The Alliancewill hit shelves in September. There is some hope that Mia’s character will gain some depth and the political intrigue will play a more interesting part in the plot, but this reviewer will not be continuing the series to find out.

Clearly I found this novel to be a disappointment, considering the cool premise. Which novels have disappointed you recently?

Disclaimer: This book was received from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Former middle school teacher and school librarian, current doctoral student in education. Reader of all things young adult. I'm particularly fond of dystopian societies, sassy female protagonists, and clever dialogue. I can often be found asleep with a book on my face. Check out all my articles.