This month, the ever-energetic Elana Johnson has organized a book review ring called “Spreading the Awesome.” Each of us chose a YA/MG book we think deserves 10 stars (or more).
“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to totally suck.” After reading the first line of MT Anderson’s FEED, I was hooked. Thankfully, I read FEED after I finished MEMENTO NORA (at least the 2nd or 3rd draft of it). If I’d read it before I started writing my book, I might’ve hung it up and begged for my old job back. It’s one of those books that completely demoralizes and inspires me. It’s that good.
FEED is both funny and tragic. Anderson never talks down to his readers or over explains the world he’s built. (A few of my pet peeves.) The book is a fresh take on the worn cyberpunk genre. (You might call it post-cyberpunk.) (If you’re not familiar with cyberpunk, check out the granddaddy of the sub-genre, Neuromancer by William Gibson.)
The main character, Titus, and almost everyone in his not-so-far-future society are hooked into the Feed. It’s the total online, social media experience—internet, cell phones, chat, shows, shopping—all rolled into one and piped into your head. Titus and his friends only had to go to school learn how to use the Feed. People connect through the Feed. They still go places, like work and entertainment hot-spots, like the moon—but all the while they’re chatting with others, shopping, etc. on the Feed in their heads. (Imagine having an iPhone implanted in your skull.)
So, on his sucky trip to the Moon—a clubbing destination—a terrorist hacks Titus and a girl called Violet, whom he’d just met. They have to be quarantined–offline. No Feed. I won’t give away the plot, but one of the main reasons I love this book is that the hero doesn’t save the day. Titus and his friends don’t suddenly rise up out of their apathy, form an underground, and overthrow the Feed. The book is much subtler, darker, and more interesting than that. His friends and his society, for the most part, don’t ever question the Feed or the consequences of it. And, that’s the point. Titus does have his eyes opened. He realizes, maybe somewhat dimly, that the Feed, which is fueled by rampant consumerism (and apathy) just might be consuming the world. In the end, though, we aren’t certain whether he’s going to fall back into the lure of the Feed or fight it. And, that’s also the point.
If you want to win a copy of FEED, please comment below. I’ll pick someone randomly by the end of the week.
The next stop on the Spread the Awesome book review tour is Nicole Ducleroir. She’s reviewing AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix. If you want to see the whole list of those of us participating, check out Elana’s Recommended Reads list.