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All Good Children

312 pages
It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a seventeen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be "zombies" while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max's family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown's borders, Max's creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.
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Copyright ©2011Catherine Austen
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Austen, Catherine,1965All good children [electronic resource] / Catherine Austen.
Type of computer file: Electronic monograph in PDF format. Issued also in print format. isbn 9781554698257
I. Title. ps8601.u785a64 2011a jc813’.6 c20119034891
First published in the United States,2011 Library of Congress Control Number:2011929259
Summary: In the nottoodistant future, Max tries to maintain his identity in a world where the only way to survive is to conform and obey.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book ® on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council .
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Getty Images
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria,bc CanadaV8R 6S4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custer, wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
To Sawyer and Daimon, wHo are not in tHis one, and to a boy named Pierre, wHo Haunts tHese pages as Xavier.
WHen tHe cHildren Have been good, hat is, be it understood, Good at meal-times, good at play, Good all nigHt and good all day— hey sHall Have tHe pretty tHings Merry CHristmas always brings.
NaugHty, romping girls and boys Tear tHeir clotHes and make a noise, Spoil tHeir pinafores and frocks, And deserve no CHristmas-box. SucH as tHese sHall never look At tHis pretty Picture-Book.
From Henrc Hofmann’s Struwwelpeter: Merry Stories and Funny Pictures (1845)
P à r t o n e t r e àt m e n t
O n e
he arport securty guar s not amuse wen ï rop my pants n ront o er. Actuay, tey a own wen ï remove my bet. ï on’t want to ook ke a reca, so ï pay aong: o te pants, strp of my T-srt, cue my carmng aoescent sme. “ï’m reay or my pat-own now.” he guar stares at me, bank an bore, ans pante on er at ps. Broken boy scanners, eaye  gts, exauste traveers, near-nake teens—tey a ben n er muy eyes. “Are you carryng any qus or eectroncs?” se asks. Bese me, my sster Ay ggges troug er own pat-own. Se runs across te room to în er soes an tey bear. Our moter ses er rom te sgt o me. “ay, ï’m amost nake,” ï say. ï pont to my sorts an a, “ï cou take tese of, too,  t’ get me troug aster. ï know t ooks ke ï mgt be ng sometng.”
C à t h e r i n e a u s t e n
he guar rowns, bnks, reaces er gove ans up to my neck as  se’s gong to trotte me. Se probaby ears tat joke twce a ay. “D you pace your eectroncs n te bn?” se asks. Her at îngers scurry over my bare souers, own my breastbone, aroun my back, as  contraban cou be ng beneat my skn. My moter’s voce booms across te room. “Wy s tat woman toucng my c’s boy? ïs se bn? He s îteen years o. He’s a ctzen—” An on an on unt every trav-eer stares at me an my moester. ï preten ts s a norma encounter. ï no to passersby. “My moter conscate my eectroncs ast week,” ï te te guar as se strokes my nake tgs. “ï’m groune. Actuay, ï’m about to be arborne. But metaporcay ï’m groune. ï was a ba boy.” Se groans to er eet, pats my ass none too genty an motons me onwar. ï ress n ront o a tousan eyes tat gtter ke gass uner te termna gts. ï oow my angry moter to te boarng gate. New cars, same wat. Same ben o stae gum an subtte news: New York Cty s st rownng; Poenx s st parce; transnatona corporatons are st proîtng rom saster. ï wtstan t a. ï wou strp agan  t got me ome aster, but we’re stuck or anoter our. Fve unre eas ean nto îve unre projectons: reang, payng, messagng, eerng. Not me. My RïG es at te bottom o Mom’s purse, a Reatme ïntegrate Gateway to a wor my moter won’t et me access. Mom an Ay cant togeter ace to ace—“Rock! Paper! Scssors!” an “W W West!”—eebe înger-pays Mom
a l l G o o d C h i l d r e n
earne on te bus to knergarten wen se was young. Now an ten se gances at me an asks, “Wat were you tnkng?” as  se reay wants to know. Our Lgt s cae at ast. ï grab te wnow seat as a rewar or wtstanng so royay. My eart pouns n antc-paton. hs w be te secon Lgt o my e, an t’ be even better tan ast week’s, because t’s takng me ome. A gy sense o reeom wase over me wen tat îrst pane te of te groun. ï e my RïG to te wnow an watce ea grass an pavement recee nto an abstract o greens an browns scarre by rvers an roas. Ay squeeze my eg an squeae, “ït’s ke we’re rng a pterosaur!” Even our moter sme. My wor was snng ten, as we baze towar Aunt Syva’s unera, a expenses pa. ï n’t preten to be sa—ï barey knew my aunt. ï was ecstatc, teray on top o te wor. ï Lew away rom te îrst week o scoo, et my u gray unorm n New Metown an rose above a panet tat ooke ke Go’s own paette. ït was gorous unt crusng attue, wen Mom receve a notce about a prank bomb treat sent to my scoo rom our apartment compex tat mornng. Se snatce te RïG rgt out o my an. “You ogge n as ucas?” se sreke. “Wat makes you tnk t was me?” ï aske. Se roe er eyes an ufe, as  no oter c wou break a rue. “ït was a joke,” ï to er. “He et s RïG n te obby. Hs passwor sLucas1.” “You use to be tat boy’s ren!” ï srugge. “He’s a trowaway.”
C à t h e r i n e a u s t e n
ï soun’t ave sa tat. ït’s wat a te acaemc stuents ca te trae ks, but ï wou ave gotten my RïG back ast week  ï’ just e my tongue. Mom ragge me troug unera omes an ega oIces, own te unguare streets o an ungate cty, wt my RïG bouncng bny n er anbag, recorng notng. Atanta was te îrst cty ï’ ever vste outse o New Metown. ït was beautu n ts crazy patcwork spraw, but serousy marre by poverty. Wns wppe own te avenues nto aeyways were peope ve n paper boxes. Beggars an teves urke aroun corners or bange on te wnows o mousnes jamme n traIc unt poce oIcers ragge tem away. ït was oste an opeess an eepy unnervng. But ben te cars an crows was te most amazng graIt ï’ve ever seen—uge, vbrant, angry. Ay snuck me er RïG so ï cou recor a ew mages: a ta wave crasng nto a opse skyne, a ne o prsoners wt empty eye sockets, a sat Lat ttere wt oneybee carcasses. One ay ï’ pant a pece ke tat. My moter took er tme buryng er sster. By te tr ay, not even te art cou make te nose an rt an stnk bearabe. My cousn Rebecca sou ave sette everytng, but se mmgrate to Canaa ten years ago an wasn’t aowe back. Se nerte a sma ortune rom er moter, but te government seze t. hey gave Mom notng but unera expenses—ence te amy arpane re, te week o ote breakasts, te evenngs stretce out ke years on Atanta’s ac seets. Now we’re eang ome wt boxes o wortess rag-ments rom Rebecca’s coo—an-wrtten etters,