Length: 400 Pages
Published: August 29, 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 speech – rather than say anything at all – she 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.
If you had to pay for what you said would you choose your more carefully? What if your actions of holding hands or a comforting pat could put you in debt, would you reconsider a hug? What if your face had the likeness of a famous person, would you shield it from the world in fear of being sued?
When you start this book it explains the world you are about to enter and what happens when you become 15, how you are then charged for words and actions. You get implants in your eyes and cuff on you that monitors everything. Big brother is watching you closely in this world. Then it happens Speth Jime who is our main character. our leading lady, the star of the show celebrates (the very loose term) turning 15 where she has to give a speech written about her sponsors. Sponsors are the people who give you items and ads that can, in turn, make you a profit as long as you adhere to the terms of service. Step one of your terms of service is this speech. You choosing their products to be the first one you are charged for. And BAM Speth doesn’t say a sound. Nothing, not a peep. She zips her mouth closed and throws the key away (figuratively). This symbol apparently is free and has not cost. So here is where I thought “Man, how is the Author going to tell a story from Speth POV and she not say a damn word?”, really how was that going to happen.
If you’re a person you need dialogue, like a lot of dialogue this book isn’t for you. There’s Dialogue but really it is nowhere compared to an average book. You get a lot of one-sided conversation. You have to *gasp* actually read the book instead of skim through it. That both benefited and worked against the book. While I enjoyed the majority of the book some chapters I found to be a bore and struggled to get through. Hence the 4 stars.
I think the premise is unique and well thought. And before anyone reference Black Mirror the Netflix Series, This book was in the works well before that show hit the air, so this book was not thought because of it. I think the author did a commendable job or taking a subject that is in the news more frequently than not, it may not be in the forefront but they happen often. And revealing just how far it could possibly go. Yes, I know there are guidelines in place to prevent that, but that doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t change.
Anyways the world that Speth, Sam, Henri and Kel lives in is well put together. The lack of words from Speth is not really lacking as it became clear that one was still able to communicate without words as the author demonstrated in his work. This book I would say could be altered to be more appealing to adults with a few tweaks. But as a teen novel, this is a perfect blend. While an adult can enjoy this book, you can clearly see the prime age group this was derived for.
I’m assuming there will be more to this, and that a sequel or trilogy is going to be made of it. Again that’s just an assumption. Don’t go quoting me on that. Would I read it, probably not. Would my 13-year-old enjoy this, without a doubt. But I’m also sure my 18-year-old cousin would also enjoy it. I just think it’s a little too juvenile written for me as a 31-year-old woman. So with that said… Stocking stuffer for your teens? Yes, open their minds up and make them question the world they live in with this book.