Title: Glitch (Glitch #1)
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Publication Info: 7 August 2012 by St. Martin’s Press
* This ended up being more of a rant than I thought it would.
I’ve put off writing this review for a long, long time. Like, since July. I finished the book on schedule, for once, but every time I sat down to review the book, I just couldn’t do it.
That’s because I don’t even want to think about this book anymore. I wish I had a Pensieve or something so I could just delete the memory of having read it.
The book made me feel tired - tired of young adult literature, tired of dystopian fiction, tired of reading. And I never get tired of reading. It was a little terrifying that this book - an innocuous 300-pager with a pretty cover and a pedestrian premise - could do that to me.
To be fair, I’m not assigning all of the blame to this particular book. Around the time I read this, I’d also read some other terrible books, which can result in losing your faith in YA. This was just the book that broke the camel’s paperback, if you dig me.
Glitch is the first volume in an unnecessary series about a dystopian society. There’s the prerequisite controlling government, the prerequisite love triangle, a shoddily-constructed world, a “plucky” young heroine who likes drawing, and a dull cliche love interest of the rebel type. Nothing much happens. She discovers the “secret” of the dystopian world - oh no! Mind control is bad! And then makes lame strides towards escaping in a plot that takes the backseat to cheese-ridden make-out sessions. The character development is nonexistent, the plotting spotty, the world a series of cardboard elements pasted together with Elmer’s craft glue. There’s no sense of immediacy, no sense of pace, no sense of significance.
It’s not a good book.
This is an example of the “dystopian” fiction that I hate. The reason 1984 is a good book is not because the main character gets some nookie (even though he does). It’s a good book because it sends a message about the dangerous trajectory of our society. Pardon my French (I usually don’t swear in reviews, like, ever) but what the fuck is up with YA literature? Since when is a novel ONLY SET in a quasi-futuristic dystopian society because the author thinks that’s a good place to set a lame-ass love story?
And it’s not even a good love story. The author is like a five-year-old mashing her Barbie doll and Ken doll together. “See?” she says gleefully. “This is what looove is like, right? RIGHT? And they’re in the future! Because that’s supposed to add some dimension of quality to this book!”
See that, people?? That’s an analogy! An extended comparison! It’s a literary device! That’s what WRITING should be like! I’ve just written a story about a Barbie makeout session and it was more compelling and better written than this piece of laughable commercial tripe!
And you know what? People liked this book. If you liked it, great for you. Snaps. Clearly you are more open-minded about commercial fiction than I am. Or less picky. Or less “mean.” Or you’re just looking to be entertained by a book, which is fine! But I am NOT looking to just be entertained.
I want to feel like I’ve dedicated my time to something worthwhile. If I wanted to waste time doing something just to do something, I’d watch a Sandra Bullock romantic comedy. At least those can actually be funny. Glitch took itself 100% seriously, which is something I just can’t stand in a piece of commercial throwaway fiction.
I need to derive something from fiction, whether it’s beautiful prose or genuine emotion or some truth about the human condition. This book did not have that.
This book was hollow. It was the literary equivalent of eating cotton candy. Pretty but insubstantial, and with an unpleasant manufactured aftertaste. An assembly-line YA novel start to finish.
*Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for providing a digital copy of the book.*