Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Review to come!
I received this ARC of Glitch from St. Matin's Griffin Publishing through Net Galley for an honest review. It is a dystopian young adult novel.
Zoel Q84 lives in an underground world, far away from the contaminated surface. Within the community their is no pain, no war, no happiness or sadness. There's no emotions at all. Married couples are paired and children are created in test tubes in a lab. All residents are linked into the central system via a chip placed in the back of their neck. But there are those that malfunction, or glitch. They become unlinked from the community and start to feel and see. This is anomalous behavior and is not tolerated by the Uppers. When such things happen, it is reported and people are repaired. Zoel is one of these anomalies. And she holds a secret even darker, she is telekinetic. As she tries to hide what is happening to her, she meets others who are also glitching and have powers similar to hers. Together, they fight to try and free themselves from the control of the community. They overall theme of the book has almost an XMen type feel to it.
I have to say that I love the concept of this story. I am very into Dystopian literature. I love to see how the destruction of society as we know it brings about a government controlled community. It speaks volumes as to the direction in which our society could potentially go. A society where no one feels any emotions. A society where such things can't get in the way of how things function. It's a place where everyone is equal and no one suffers, in theory. I was somewhat worried with the first person narrative of this story, but with the lack of emotions, it actually seemed to work very well. Since Zoel has not experienced emotions before, she is able to describe to us the overwhelming feelings she experiences. And, because she has never seen others experience emotion, she easily notices and describes her reaction to others who are going through the same process. The world building is almost immediate in this story, as Zoel is glitching when we are first introduced to her. And her fears are real and tangible to the audience as she describes the process of being repaired, or worse yet, deactivated.
The story starts out a bit slow. I was perturbed by the fact that the first two chapters were almost purely narrative. There was barely any interaction between the main character and others in the story. I was actually bored. Then suddenly there is action. Zoel, or Zoe as she likes to be called, meets Adrien, the boy with crystal green eyes. He shows her that she is not alone. He shows her his power: visions of the future. And they quickly connect, more quickly than I deemed possible, which made their connection a bit unbelievable. Adrien brings her to the surface to show her that the Uppers have lied, that no toxins exist and it's possible to live there without the filtered air provided in the tunnels of the community. But Zoe has an allergic reaction to the elements, such as mold, and Adrien must quickly return her to the society, wiped clean of any memory of her trip to the surface.
Zoe's character is well thought out and you really see her grow throughout the novel. Her innocence is so intriguing and not something we see as a society who begins to feel emotion almost as soon as we are born. After her memory is wiped, she returns to the community and once again begins to glitch. We experience her emotions, which are all over the place, and watch her as he tries to control them without being detected. She begins to emerge as a typical teenager, fighting with her feelings and attempting to take control of her life. She hides from the community and fears for her life if her anomalous behavior is discovered.
She quickly becomes friends with Maximum (Max), who eventually reveals to her that he, too, is glitching, confesses his undying love to her and reveals that he wants to keep her out of danger. He is very different from Adrien and seems to experience his emotions in a much more intense way than any of the other characters introduced during the story. We see him go from hot to cold in the blink of an eye. Zoe is also confused by her emotions, and is not able to understand how she feels about Max. Max is pushy and overbearing. He does not hide that he wants to save her or that he wants to be with her for the rest of his life. But it also seems that his "love" is based on his physical attraction to Zoe. He is overpowered by what I can only describe as teen lust. Zoe is not sure what this means and isn't sure she has the same feelings for him. Max, too, has a power, he can disguise his appearance as anyone. This is helpful as he tries to gather information and infiltrate the Uppers to figure out how he and Zoe can live safely.
Adrien is soon reintroduced and Zoe feels almost an immediate connection to him. Although she does not remember him, there is something in the back of her mind that tells her to trust him. He is loving, caring and compassionate. He wants to use his abilities to help others and to save other glitters from the control of the community. He feels they are drones, only there to do why work of the Uppers. He shows Zoe that it is ok to feel emotions which can swing easily from love to hate depending on the situation. He works for the Resistance, who want to gather others to overturn the Uppers. We see that he truly believes in his cause, even if he does not know how they will establish it with such a small force of people.
Max is untrusting of Adrien, and also jealous of him as he watches Zoe fall for him. This causes him to agree to help the Uppers gather information about glitters so they can use them for their own purposes.
All in all, I the enjoyed the story line and the characters. I did find the author's ability to describe things thoroughly sometimes was lacking. And the story did not move as quickly as I would have liked. While we are introduced immediately to the disruptions that will ultimately cause a rift, the slowness with which we become acquainted to what is actually going on is annoying. I did not have the overall feeling of not wanting to put the book down, as I have with other dystopian stories. It didn't grab me and take me on that roller coaster ride of emotions I so enjoy with these types of stories. I certainly felt the overall theme of the book, but it wasn't as thrilling as I would have liked it to be.
I am struggling with whether or not I would go on to read the second book in this series. I think the overall ending could allow someone to treat it as a stand alone, if they chose to. There was no real cliff hanger, although we don't know whether or not the glitchers escape and establish a new life with persecution from the Uppers.
This books best a 2.5/5 stars from me.
I would like to thank St. Martin's Griffin for the opportunity to do an early review of this novel.
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