I would like to thank the author for providing me a complimentary copy of her book in exchange for a review. Doing so does not sway my judgment in any way.
It's funny, when I was reading this book I highlighted a sentence from the excerpt before I even saw it, "Puberty, people, is a bitch." How true of a statement is that? That one sentence nails it down and those 5 words describe those years perfectly. On one hand you want to be your own person, on the other hand you want what you see peers have, on another hand you don't want to be like them, but on the other hand, you wonder what happens if you aren't. Puberty=hormones=craziness=bitch. The circle of life non-Disney style.
The story centers around Glaze, the social network of the future. Everyone over a certain age gets chipped and are able to access this network through their brains. Passing of information is done with a thought and if you aren't on the system, you either want to be on it or you are determined to take it down. Petri is close to getting chipped, but due to a huge misunderstanding at a protest she was present at, she gets a 5 year ban. Think of it this way, all your peers are on Facebook and you are thisclose to getting on it too when the carpet gets pulled from under your feet and your told you have to wait until your 21. Life as you thought it would be would feel like it's over before it even got started. This network is also far more evolved than what we have today. It's like a fully loaded computer system. Need the news, you've got it. Need the weather, BAM, you got it. 5 years, so much can happen during that time, and Petri realizes that and does what many people in that circumstance does, she finds a way around it.
The story takes off from there. Petri finds she's getting an overload of Glaze. She can't get away from all the information being tossed at her because she's not plugged in the way that she should be. The story deals with actions and consequences. And what she's tapped into, somebody else wants because she knows too much and can crush the reality of Glaze. And why has this happened, because as said before, "Puberty, people, is a bitch."
Some call this book dystopian, I don't know if I would. It's not far off base where our social networking could go. Think about it, how many of us tap into our Facebook, Twitter, Emails, Blogs, etc multiple times daily to see what everyone else is doing? Encyclopedias? Why bother when a couple clicks and we have the answer before us. Research used to be spending hours in a library, and making phone calls, and writing letters to get the information we needed, but now we can do all that through our computer or smartphone. We think, put a chip in our bodies, no way, but think about it. If we know it has happened, and we see the results and it because easily accessible for everyone, how many would succumb to wanting to try it out like everyone else? I remember when cell phones came out. People laughed seeing others with them, but now that they are affordable and can be had without plans, people who don't have one are labeled strange.
A unique story that makes one think about the possibilities out there. It makes the reader think not only of the story, but how our society could easily become the one in the story. The ways it could be used for good, and the ways it could be used for bad. Those who could use it as a stepping stone to something else, and those who just want to be like everyone else. The author has really done well with intermingling current events and the ideas of where technology is going. She's tapped into the driving force of the teenager, and realizes that the actions of society currently will help dictate and facilitate the technology of the future. Teens today who are tapped in the way there are, want more, these teens become adults and acquire the knowledge to make dreams a reality, even if they shouldn't be. A good representation of this is Petri's mother, who was once a hacker but eventually helped create Glaze.
Anyone who is into corruption, technology and thrillers will delight in this book. For those who aren't really into social networking, they may not get the range of desperation that Petri has to get connected and that might hinder them with this book, especially since the first 100 pages are dealt with getting on Glaze. That area is where I would have liked to see things speed up a bit. We know from the beginning that Petri gets banned but than goes onto the black market for a chip, so why did the story have to take so long to get there?