Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Review: Swipe by Evan Angler

Author: Evan Angler
Series: Swipe (Book 1)
Publication: Thomas Nelson (April 30, 2012)

Description: Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

My Thoughts: This book begins a middle grade dystopian series. Logan Langly is the main character. He is approaching his thirteenth birthday when he will be eligible to get the Mark which makes him a citizen. With it, he can get a job, buy things, vote. But ever since his older sister Lily went for her mark and disappeared, Logan has felt like he is being watched and followed. His parents think he is paranoid.

Erin Arbitor is a new student at Spokie Middle. She and her father have relocated to Spokie because her dad is doing "government work" for DOME which is the police arm of the new world government. Erin wants to be back home in Beacon with both of her parents. Her mother stayed behind for her job. Erin is an excellent computer hacker.

Logan and Erin meet at school where he tries to convince her that he is being followed. Erin, having read her father's secret work files, thinks it would be a great idea to catch the criminal who is following Logan because it will get her and her father back to Beacon sooner.

The two of them investigate and learn that what the government is telling its citizens is not necessarily the truth. Lots of threads are left hanging in this first episode of the Swipe trilogy making the next books necessary.

While the book is generally enjoyable, I found the slang used for the Markless didn't make much sense. Using miser, tightwad, cheapskate, and other money related terms as pejoratives was really distracting for me because I kept wondering how things related to money. I also felt that the adults in the story were more-or-less cardboard characters. I also know that, while middle grade kids think, they are adults, these characters were mature well beyond their age and pretty unrealistic.

Favorite Quote:
"Who knows? The guy's Markless. He's a criminal."

Logan shook his head. "It isn't a crime to be Markless, no matter what age you are."

"It's not, no. Not by itself. But to survive like way to eat...nowhere to'd make a criminal out of you pretty quick."
I got this ARC at ALA in 2013. You can buy your copy here.

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