Hey all, Dani here.
Today is the last day to vote for my reads for the Make Me Read It Readathon. The poll closes at midnight so please go here and vote now.
I am so excited about today’s review. This book blew me away, and I had not even heard of it before going to BookExpo. I guess I’ll start this post with a quick little storytime. It was the first full day of BookExpo and I had just gotten out of Maggie Stiefvater’s line and made my way to the other side of the hall to get in line for Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. I was lucky enough to get ticket #98 out of 100. Well, seated at the signing table before I reached Sasha and Lindsay was Mr. Katsoulis with his book, and I was asked if I would like a copy of his book as well. Still knowing nothing about it I said sure and was quickly given a nice signed ARC. Upon checking out the book a few minutes later, man, did the book synopsis sound so darn interesting. To the point where I read this book in June despite it having a late August release date.
So there, that’s my random little storytime for you. This book is so good and it definitely ranks as one of my top reads of 2017.
In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.
But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.
Rating: 5 stars
I’ll be completely honest. This world absolutely terrified me. As someone who is a reader and a writer, having that massive disconnect from words is just something I never want to try and wrap my mind around. The fact that starting at the age of 15 you are charged for every single word you say and every gesture you make, is just an absolute tragedy.
This is a world where basically everything has been copyrighted and trademarked and so you have to pay the rights holder for using their word or gesture or whatever. Also, starting at 15 everyone wears a wrist cuff that keeps track of your words and gestures and charges you accordingly.
I think what is most horrifying is that practically every single person in this world is so sue crazy. Oh, someone said something you don’t like or they did something that you don’t approve of. No problem. You can send out an instant lawsuit via your cuff. The reality is that I see so many articles online in the current day with people suing others or suing companies left and right. This is a future that could happen, and I hope I never see it come about. I would not want to live in a world where I am billed for smiling or holding hands or hugging or kissing. I would not want to exist in a world where our freedom of speech has been stripped away and replaced with paying for every word.
So for me this felt like a scary possible future, and yet I was so interested in Speth’s story and how she found this tiny loophole in the system that ended up starting something nobody expected at first. It was interesting to read a book where the main character stops having dialogue after the first chapter or two. Everyone else tries to talk to her but because of her vow to not speak and because she can’t even use gestures to communicate, it is difficult for Speth to navigate the world. She can’t get into certain buildings; she can’t hold a job. So many activities in the world require a person to accept the terms and conditions, which of course requires verbal consent.
It was fascinating to follow this story and to see how everything unfolded.
This book was outstanding and it kind of makes me sad that I did not see this pop up in more BEA/BookCon book hauls from BookTubers. This is a story I think everyone needs to read; it would definitely make an interesting addition to school curricula across the nation. Just do yourself a favor and read this book.