Book Review / Feed

Author: M.T Anderson
Genre: Dystopian Young Adult
Year Published: 2002
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Length: 299 pages

Synopsis:
In a world taken over by capitalism and marketing, everyone is constantly bombarded by advertising by the feed, a chip implanted in their brains. Titus and his friends are completely used to this constant advertising. And then Titus meets Violet who is completely different from everyone else he knows. Violent challenges they very ideals and beliefs Titus grew up with, and he’s not sure he likes that. As their relationship develops they also begin to see the feed in a new light.

My Perspective:
This book took a different route than I was expecting. It was more of a love story with social commentary hanging out in the background. I went into this book expecting it to be all take down the man and scream it from the mountaintops. Which in a way made it more powerful. It showed how normally and easily technology came to run everything. Everything felt so much more normal than I was expecting.

The characters were very genuine and relatable. They seem so normal despite the weird feed and everything that goes on with that. Titus and Violet are very much products of their environment. Titus grew up with the feed. Everything about it is so normal to him. Violet, on the other hand, received the feed later in life and grew up with a father who is against it. These teens are trying to reconcile their beliefs and their relationship, and really just trying to figure out life.

M.T Anderson never fails to create interesting worlds with relatable characters. Overall I really enjoyed this read. It was a easy quick read, but also very thought provoking.

My Rating: 4 hackers out of 5

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June: The Month of Reading

June was the month of reading! I read more this month than I have read in a really long time and it was fantastic. The combination of ending the school year, only working a few days a week, and a few trips home made for the perfect reading month. Here’s what I read and a few brief thoughts!

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler: I really enjoyed this slightly goofy, mildly dark, and all together different tale of love lost. Handler has a way of writing characters impossible not to fall in love with. I wrote a full review on this one so check it out!

Feed by M.T Anderson: Feed took a route I wasn’t quite expecting it to take, but I liked it more than I thought it would. The love story interwoven with the social commentary on technology was well written and pulled me into the story.

Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up by Grace Helbig: This quirky book is part self-help, part memoir, and 100% funny. Written by Youtube Personality Grace Helbig, Grace’s Guide was the perfect summer read.

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin: I was not a fan of this one. A Really Awesome Mess follows two teens whose problems land them in a therapeutic boarding school. The characters were whiney. The plot was kind of weird and not that interesting. This book just didn’t keep me interested.

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson: This is the last book I read in June. I finished this book eleven days ago and haven’t really read all that much since. I think I still have a massive post-book hangover from this one. Catalyst is definitely not easy to move on from. I loved everything about it from the characters to the plot to the writing. I even loved how much it broke my heart.

So that’s June for you. Hopefully July is just as productive! I just bought a couch for my porch, so I anticipate a lot of reading to happen there. How’s your summer reading going? Any summer recommendations?

Happy Reading,
Sam

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing

*Disclaimer: We can thank my Young Adult Lit professor for the format of this review.  I actually wrote this for an assignment, but I really  like the format of it so here it goes!*

Author: M. T Anderson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Year Published: 2008
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Length: 353 pages that should be accompanied by a dictionary
 

Synopsis:
Octavian, a boy raised amongst hordes of academicians in Boston, is given an education to rival that of European Princes all in the name of science. Octavian and his mother are given the riches of the world and adored by all the scholars that ever visit, all while every detail of their being is monitored and recorded. After forming a friendship with a servant named Bono, Octavian dares to step through the one door in the house he is forbidden to enter, thus finding the true nature of the experiment where he himself is the subject. Finally discovering the complicated, slightly horrifying truth, Octavian’s life is shifted forever. Never will her return to the blissfully ignorant life of simply academia.

Set in the backdrop of the American Revolution, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is an intelligently written exploration of the battle between science and humanity and the true nature of liberty.

My Perspective:
First off, holy moly did this book stretch my vocabulary to the moon and back. I read this book with the dictionary app on my phone open and at the ready. Not that this is a bad thing, just made it a little more challenging to get through. In fact, the language used in this book helped set the stage for Octavian’s life. This book is set in a) the late 1700s and b) a house full of scientists, philosophers, and academics. It wouldn’t be believable if it had been written in the language that I am accustomed too, that of a twenty year-old college kid in the twenty-first century.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing took me through a whole roller coaster of emotions. I began to feel attached to Octavian very early on therefore I was definitely rooting for him throughout the entire book. I also found many of the other characters in this book incredibly odd. As Octavian grew older and began to face more hardships, I was sitting on the edge of my seat in suspense. I wanted so badly for Octavian’s life to turn out ok, but I really doubted that this book would have a decent outcome. It was, however, fairly comforting that I knew a sequel existed so I knew the end couldn’t be that bad.

M.T. Anderson not only pulled me into the age of the Revolution, but also weaved a narrative that made me laugh at the ridiculous moments, my heart break with injustice, and rejoice at the idea that there is still some hope in the darkest places.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 cups of tea!
You’ll like this book if: You enjoy emotional, yet highly intellectual narratives that complicate views on well-known histories or if you find conversations about what is just and ethical interesting.
You’ll dislike this book if: You enjoy easy, light-hearted reads that wrap up nicely at the end.