Hive by A. J. Betts – Book Review (Spoiler Free)

HIVE_Image2 Claire Catacouzinos


All I can tell you is what I remember, in the words that I have.

Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known.

Until she witnesses the impossible: a drip from the ceiling.

A drip? It doesn’t make sense.

Yet she hears it, catches it. Tastes it.

Curiosity is a hook.

What starts as a drip leads to a lie, a death, a boy, a beast, and too many awful questions.

A. J. Betts: Hive


Title: Hive

Authors: A. J. Betts 

Genre: young adult, dystopian

Release Date: June 2018

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Link to buy book here.



My Review

An artfully crafted dystopic and coming of age story about Hayley, a fifteen-year-old beekeeper with headpains and living in an underwater city, until she discovers the secrets about the city and her world. Hayley tends to the city’s garden and is their senior beekeeper. Other groups include: the netters, the enginers, the kitcheners and the seeders. The story unfolds with Hayley hearing and seeing a drip in the ceiling of an engineer room where she escapes for peace and quiet, while pretending to catch a rogue bee. This event is the catalyst of the story, and her political and social awakening of the world she lives in.

Betts has skilfully contrasted Hayley’s character to her best friend Celia, and their opposing views on the world. There is wonderful world-building in this story with the concepts of marriage, disease and plagues, hierarchy, politics, social paradigms, education, daily routines, and the dangers of imagination and curiosity explored. And like with all dystopian worlds Betts critiques on society’s aim for social cohesion, unity and harmony by instigating ostracism, and suppressing individuality and power.

She also uses intertextuality and plays with famous nursery rhymes and phrases to show the alterations made in the city’s world.

Can’t wait for the sequel!

My favourite quote from the book:

“Stirring blue wonders while the rest of the world slept. A starry, secret solitude.”
– Page 195


4.5 / 5 stars

Best wishes,

HIVE_Image Claire Catacouzinos


For more information:

Visit A. J. Betts’ website.

Check out more of my book reviews here.


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