Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime
The Registry saved the country from collapse, but stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained to fight and never question orders.
Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.
All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.
The Registry is a dystopian novel by Shannon Stoker that introduces us to a world where men purchase young women for wives through the Registry. Young men must all serve in the military before they are allowed to buy a wife. The girls are sold by their families and the government gets a percentage of the sale. While female children are valued for the potential wealth they can bring to their fathers, the government encourages all male children to be given up to orphanages.
Eighteen year old Mia is sure she will bring one of the highest bride prices ever. That's all she is concerned about until her older married sister shows up at the house horribly malnourished and bruised. Even as their parents contacted her husband and he is dragging her away, she manages to tell Mia about information she left hidden at the house which proves that everything may not be exactly as it seem. A week later Mia learns her sister was murdered by her husband, and she begins to believe the information her sister left behind.
When Mia's parents plan to sell her to a cruel, wealthy man, Grant Marsden, she makes plans to escape along with her friend Whitney. They end up coercing Andrew, a young man who was working on her father's farm, into assisting them as they attempt to flee to Mexico.
The chapters open with quotes from either The Registry Guide for Girls or The Boy's guide to Service, depending upon from whose point of view that chapter is written.
While The Registry may sound eerily similar to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, please note that it's not of the same caliber. The Handmaid's Tale is by far the superior novel. This is a quick, easy novel to read and although Stoker has made some social statements in it, they aren't quite as finely honed and focused as Atwood's. Mia was also an implausible, sometimes annoying main character for me.
It's not that Shannon Stoker has written a bad novel. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I overlooked all sorts of inconsistencies and questions about the plot and the character's actions because, based on the opening chapters, I assumed that it was a young adult novel. I was rather taken aback when I discovered that it is not being marketed as such. With the age of the main characters, the simplicity of the plot and characterizations, I assumed it was YA - and liked it much better while I was under that assumption. Adult readers may want to keep this in mind
It was also a bit disconcerting to see that The Registry is the first novel in a purposed new series. At this time I'm unsure if I would seek out the next in the series.
For the purpose of this review, I'm going to highly recommend The Registry by Shannon Stoker as a YA novel.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes.