Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Glitch ~ Heather Anastasiu (eARC) review

St Martin's Griffin
August 7, 2012
371 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

Heather Anastasiu has really captured the heart - and difficulty - of being a teenager and brought it to life in the future, government controlled, logical fueled society of Glitch.

In the future world of Glitch , people are not ruled by emotion. Quite the oppostie, actually, in a  society - the Community - now free of war, heartache and pain people are ruled by logic and the common good, unaware even that there is emotion. The people of the Community are implanted with computer chips that keep them free of the 'harmful' emootions and connected to the Link.

The Link network connects all members of the community, broadcasts updates, reminds them that the Community is important above all - it keeps the Community a whole, one.

But not everyone, it seems, is fully connected to the Link network. Zoe has been experiencing malfunctions in her connection. Glitches.

She's been thinking her own thoughts, feeling her own feelings and establishing her own identity (if only recognizable to herself) separate from the Community and the Link.

In a society where an anomalies are to be immediately reported, with everyone looking for anything different, where Zoe should be turning herself in for repair, her glitching is dangerous.

But not as dangerous as the other secret, about her ability, that she's hiding, as well.

As Zoe struggles to hide - and control - her ability and her glitching - she'll have to learn who she might be able to trust, who, in a world where everyone <i>but</i> her seems to be the same might really be able to help her . . . and who might lead her into even more trouble, even to deactivation.

There's something special about  Glitch . It's set in the future, in a world that's already dealt with so much more than we have and come out on the other side quite different. The Community is an entire underground society linked together through computer chips. Computer chips that make the people devoid of both emotion and most real individual thought. All for the greater good, for the survival of mankind.

It sounds all very science fictiony, to be sure and while it is, that's also not what's at the real heart of the story - or what made me love it so much.

It would be simple to point out the differenes in the teens in  Glitch  and teens in 2012, but they would really only be surface differences. Where  Glitch  is so brilliant, where Heather Anastasiu has done such a fantastic job with Zoe and telling the story in her debut novel is translating the everpresent struggle of adolescence to this dystopian world. Anastasiu still allows her characters to be teenagers - or possibly finally allows them to be teenagers - now that they're not being controlled by the chip.

They're characters that are just finding out what it feels like to feel emotions - everything from happiness to anger to lust - shouldn't be perfectly adept at handling things. And in  Glitch  they're not. Sometimes they're awkward, oftentimes they're curious. They're funny, they worry about each other, things don't always go right.

Anastasiu doesn't make her characters smooth, she doesn't gloss over them feeling things for the first time. Nor does she make fun of them.

As they are Community teenagers who have grown up with such a logical basis, she does a brilliant job working that into their new feelings and ideas. Much as they might have some of the same impulses as current teens, they don't have the same societal norms so they don't go about things the same way. It leads to some weirdness, a lot of humor, and quite a few 'Boys Will Be Boys' (as in no matter where or when they exist) thoughts.

This is a debut novel but one with some really great writing. Obviously I love the humor and the way the characters, well, developments are used, but I also love the little bits that are almost snuck in there. Some of them almost seem like slip-ups but then become part of something bigger later.

The way things unfolded was fantastic. From the Link system, to everything that was introduced about the Community, characters that seemed one way, then maybe another, and never quite letting us guess it all.

Glitch is one first book in a series that has me on the edge of my seat just waiting for news of Book Two - I can't wait to see what happens.

Rating: 9/10

Thank you to St Martin's and NetGalley for my egalley of this title :)

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