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The One Safe Place

By Tania Unsworth

“What is this place?”

In a drought-stricken world, Devin and his grandfather have barely scraped out a living on their isolated farm. When his grandfather dies, Devin knows he can’t manage alone and heads for the nearest city to find help. But in the city he finds only children alone like him, living on the streets. Then a small act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood—a place with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new home.

But Devin soon finds out that the Gabriel Penn Home is no paradise. A zombie-like sickness afflicts many of the children who live there—and it will claim Devin, too, unless he can become the first to find a way out of this dystopian nightmare.

“[A] chilling and engrossing tale . . . A standout.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Fast-paced and gripping. An original dystopian story.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“A timeless story that deserves to become a children’s classic for decades to come.” —The Christian Science Monitor

A Summer 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
One of the Christian Science Monitor’s 25 Best New Middle Grade Novels of 2014

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Meet the Author
Tania Unsworth headshot

Tania Unsworth

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Review quotes

“This frightening and mysterious book surprised me again and again. Unsworth has created a world where nothing is as it seems and horrors lurk around every corner. When you read it, you will quickly discover one terrifying fact--there IS no safe place!” —R. L. Stine

“A standout in the genre’s crowded landscape.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Here’s a literary post-apocalyptic thriller with something new and interesting to say about friendship, home, love, and community . . . This is a timeless story that deserves to become a children’s classic for decades to come.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“[A] marvelous dystopian thriller . . . The novel is beautifully paced, the setting vivid, the plot disturbing, the finale thrilling.” —The Buffalo News

“Reminiscent of Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always . . . Fast-paced and gripping. An original dystopian story for middle-grade readers.” —School Library Journal

“Unsworth unravels the story with skilled deliberation, creating a page-turning mix of suspense, intrigue, and anxiety. The kids are genuine and quirky, just the right kind of mismatched misfits to snag readers’ hearts. This is a wholly enjoyable journey, and a dystopian vision with some great new twists.” —Publishers Weekly

“Tania Unsworth has written a lightning-fast and spine-chilling novel . . . Readers will root for Devin with white knuckles and pounding hearts.” —Michael Grant, New York Times best selling author of Gone, BZRK, and The Magnificent 12

Product Details
Age range
10 - 13
Grade range
5 - 8
Number of pages
Publication date
April 29, 2014