The Limit

Author: Kristen Landon
Reading Range: 4.4 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot: This book is set in the future where everyone has a limit to how much they can spend. Matt’s family has just gone over their limit. A new law was enacted that forces children above a certain age to go into workhouses to work off their families debt. Matt is forced into a workhouse and he ends up on the top floor. The top floor is for children who are the smartest and earn the most money. Matt starts to enjoy his time on the floor making friends and doing his best to work off his debt. He has not heard from his family so he escapes and goes home. There he discovers what his parents are doing to get out of debt is actually making their situation worse. His mother is involved with a pyramid scheme. His sister, Lauren, is forced into the workhouse next. Matt notices that some of the children are getting headaches and becoming sick. He and the other topfloorers discover that they are being experimented on. Also, the money they are earning for their family is being mismanaged so that they cannot leave until they are eighteen. Matt and the others have to figure out a way to expose what is happening at the workhouse.
Review: To many children, it might seem impossible for children to be removed from their families because of debt. In the past, there were debthouses where people had to work to get rid of their debts. This is something that has happened. This book is also talking about the current situation that many people are living in. There are many people who are in thousands of dollar worth of debt because of credit cards. It critiques the mentality of buying stuff now and not thinking about the future. Everyone in Matt’s family spent money without really thinking about it. Both of his parents were reckless with their spending and they encourages that in their children. Right before his family went over their limit, Matt was thinking of asking his parents to buy him several thousand dollars worth of computer stuff. Matt is forced to think about that when he is put in the workhouse. He is forced to look at the way that he and his family lived their lives. I would recommend this book for tweens who like science fiction. I think this book could be used to start a discussion of how credit and debt work.
Additional Info:
Main Characters:
Matt-Matt is forced into a workhouse after his family go over the limit.
Matt’s Mom-At the beginning of the story, Matt’s mom does not work. She is at a stay-at-home mom taking care of her family.
Matt’s Dad-Matt’s dad works but he spends a lot of his time on the golf course with clients.
Lauren-Lauren is Matt’s younger sister. She is forced into the workhouse after him.
Becca-Becca is Matt’s baby sister. He is trying to keep her from having to go into the workhouse.
Sharlene Smoot-Smoot runs the workhouse. Matt calls her “Honey Lady” because of her skin.
Reginald-Reginald is a weird kid on the top floor who never leaves his room.
Madeline-Madeline is a top floor girl. She is interested in fashion.
Paige-Paige is another top floor girl. Her family went into debt because of her sibling’s medical bills.
Neela-Neela is another top floor girl. She starts getting headaches and then she is moved to another floor.
Jefferey-Jefferey is a top floor boy. He does not want to go home to his family.
Henry-Henry is a top floor boy. Matt and him become friends.

Theme: Dangers of ignorance, Facing reality, Greed as downfall, Materialism as downfall

Bibliographic Info:

Landon, K. (2011). The Limit. New York, NY: Scholastic, In.