In Children of Exile, Rosi lives in Fredtown, a politically correct and New Age-y place where adults are kind and everything is positive and orderly. She is 12 years old, a rule follower, and the caring and nurturing oldest child in Fredtown, where children are raised by Fred-Mamas and Fred-Daddies. Her one aggravation is her nemesis Edwy, who questions everything, including the good intentions of their Fred-parents. According to some obscure agreement, Rosi, her younger brother Bobo, and all the other children of Fredtown will soon be returning to their real parents, whom they have never met.
All the children are taken back Home by Enforcers, violent and vicious mercenary-types who carry out the terms of the contract. Home is a disturbing and chaotic place, with cruel adults who physically and verbally abuse their new children, hold virulent prejudices, and are maimed in terrible ways. In this new place, Edwy’s questioning nature starts to seem sensible, and the lines between right and wrong begin to blur for Rosi as she realizes that Edwy might have been right to be suspicious.
Margaret Peterson Haddix’s first book in a new series is quick and exciting read as you want to unravel the dark secret of their world. Children of Exile is a promising start, but clearly an introduction, setting up the world and conflict that will carry through the next books.