Wait! Hold it right there. Have you ever read two completely different books and noticed similarities between the two? If this sounds like you, proceed to read the article below.
On the surface, the two books I’m comparing would seem to have nothing in common. In fact, just by looking at the covers, one would assume them to be polar opposites. The Maze Runner (for ages 12 and up) by James Dashner is a futuristic fantasy. The Selection (for ages 12 and up) by Kiera Cass is a romantic story about a competition for the prince’s hand in marriage. What could these two books possibly have in common?
InThe Maze Runner, the main character, Thomas, is sent to the Glade, not necessarily by force but because he thinks it is for “the good of the people.” Same thing goes for America, the main character in The Selection, whose choice ensures her family’s safety. America despises the idea of going to the palace, but goes along with it for her family, just as Thomas goes into the elevator to the Maze. Both want to run away from their surroundings; one desires to leave from a death trap of monsters, the other from frilly dresses. Thomas and America both want to “escape” but not leave the friends they’ve made. Both situations require survival skills as well. Thomas must know how to fight monsters, and America must know how to curtsey in heels. These stories are different, but their underlying plots have similarities.
The Maze Runner and The Selection both have bad guys as well. All the people in the Glade are faced with WICKED, an organization dedicated to making their lives as painful as possible. Thomas’ chances of escaping are in their clenched fists. America is also confronted with challenges herself. In addition to the snooty girls and king determined to send her home, there are rebel groups storming the palace and turning it into a war zone.
Oh, and don’t forget the sidekicks! America’s new best friend is Marlee, whose enthusiasm can light up a room. Her sweetness makes her a very likable companion. This reminds me of Chuck (Thomas’ new best friend), whose personality is always fun to be around. Thomas always seems to smile with happiness when around him. Both are kind and befriend the protagonists on their first day. However, their fates are anything but happy!
As you can see, the similarities are carried throughout both stories. Next time you read two different books, see what’s hidden in the pages.
Emma Rose, Scholastic Kids Council