Friday, May 15, 2015
Author: M. T. Anderson
Published: 2002 (2004 in the US)
Premise: In a future where everyone has chips in their brain that gives them updates, a boy meets a girl...
My Review: This is one of those books that tends to wind up on a lot of people's lists. I've had people go "better then Hunger Games!" at me about it, and literally hold it up as a pinnacle of YA fiction. Which is probably why I avoided it because I knew that would effect my feelings on it if I didn't like it. But I finally caved and of course...I tended to nitpick. This is why I loathe hype.
Honestly though, even without the hype...I probably would have just shrugged at this. It's that average. I'm honestly trying to sit here and think about what could have possibly set it apart from all the other dystopians to get it its praise and the only things I can come up with are 1) It's written by a male (lets face it, most of the dystopians in YA are written by females, hence why they get mocked and this gets awards ;grumbles about double standards;). 2) It has a male main character falling in love, and 3) no real uprising or chosen one stuff. That's it. That's all that sets it apart from things like Hunger Games. Writing wise it's average. Character wise...average again. Everything is just average. I don't get it.
It doesn't help that the topic and slang honestly feel a little outdated. In the early 00s there was all this worry about the effect the internet and all the fast growing technology was having in our youth and it's kind of obvious this was written as a response to that fear. The author has them using a LOT of teen speak (from our time, which...doesn't make sense as this is the future and slang changes). Then there's the fact that NOTHING HAPPENS. That's what really floors me. This is literally just him falling in love with Violet, then getting annoyed with her bringing up world views and serious stuff, and then the death at the end and...that's it. Literally, that's the plot. It's one of the most boring dystopians I've read, to be honest.
Honestly, the more I sit and think about this book, the less I like it. So much could have been done with it, it was an interesting world and everything, but the story just never went anywhere. Also, I can't help but feel it would have been about ten times more interesting in Violet's point of view, she was the one who had an actual narrative. Instead we're stuck with the boring male character who basically just goes to parties all the time.
Again...this is just me. I also admit, most of my issues came about because hype around this book gave me pretty big expectations. There are some interesting ideas floating around in this thing but it just felt like those interesting ideas never came to their full potential.
WHO SHOULD READ: dystopian fans, YA fans, those who don't mind slightly outdated books
MY RATING: Three out of Five disappointed faces