The Maze Runner is a novel about a teenage boy named Thomas who finds himself in a strange environment with no recollection of his life. He is transported in an elevator shaft into what the residents call ‘The Glad’. It is a square piece of land much resembling a courtyard, roughly the size of 3 football fields, surrounded by concrete walls hundreds of meters tall. Beyond those walls are a massive maze, spanning unknown size, and being the only way out. The occupants are solely comprised of male teenagers, who like Thomas, have no memory of their life before The Glade. No one knows why they are there, who put them there, or how to get out.
I found this book particularly interesting because the characters are solely comprised of male teenagers, and representation of teenagers is something that a lot of writers struggle with, as teenagers have a different thoughts process to most adults. The result is often an unrealistic, and far fetched depiction of what teenagers are actually like. Often portraying us as more juvenile, or more mature than reality. The characters in the book are portrayed as often short tempered, and foul mouthed, with quite juvenile spirits. You get the sense of adolescent friendship among the people there. Behaving much like you would expect teenagers to behave in a normal school environment. However, they understand the value and necessity of hard work, and are capable of making difficult decisions. It is important to have accurate representation of teenagers in the same way it is important to have accurate representation of all races of people. Young people who grow up reading material that inaccurately represents teenagers, who grow up to think that’s what teenagers are and how they look/act. It can create unrealistic expectations for them, or give them the wrong idea about what it is like being a teenager.
A lot is left a mystery for the duration of the novel, both to the reader and the main character. Some things, such as the purpose or location in which they are being kept, remain a mystery to all of the characters. This creates a bridge of understanding between the characters and the reader, as neither know the true nature of the world they reside in. It also creates a void of mystery for the reader to fill with their own thoughts, and draw their own conclusions and theories about what is happening. The reader can make up their own story within the novel, making the intentions of the perpetrators as malicious as they like. Affecting the mood of the story, and allowing the reader to make the story their own.
In conclusion, this is a very rewarding read, great for those who are a fan of mysteries, or those who were a fan of the hunger games. For those who love reading it is a great novel for truly immersing yourself in the novel’s world, and making it your own. I would recommend it to a teen audience, especially if you are a fan of dystopian future-type novels. It has very relatable characters, and I truly loved reading this novel.