Want Hardcover – Jun 13 2017
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Paste Magazine’s Best YA Novel of 2017
A Junior Library Guild Selection
“Vividly conjured…positively chilling.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Fresh, compelling—and timely.” —Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carve the Mark and the Divergent series
"An exciting, socially conscious futuristic thriller." —Kirkus Reviews
"Pon excels as this society’s architect, constructing sights, sounds, and smells that make this Taipei come alive." —Booklist
"A strong sci-fi novel that will entice an array of readers." —School Library Journal
"A gripping, fast read that blends cultural elements, edgy tech, and a future coming out of a recognizable pollution-heavy current path." —BCCB
“Cindy Pon's sci-fi debut envisions a world that could very easily become our own.” —Beth Revis, author of the New York Times bestselling Across the Universe series
“A story brimming with high-octane action. What a rollercoaster!” —Marie Lu, author of the New York Times bestselling The Young Elites trilogy
“You will not find a more plausible or terrifying dystopian future, and if you've always wanted to visit Taipei, this book is a first-class ticket.” —Ann Aguirre, author of the New York Times bestselling Razorland trilogy
“Fast-paced, utterly engrossing, and highly recommended.” —Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood
About the Author
Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by ALA Booklist and one of 2009’s best Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror by VOYA; Serpentine and Sacrifice (Month9Books), which were both Junior Library Guild selections and received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews, respectively; Want (Simon Pulse), which is a Freeman Book Award Honorable Mention; and Ruse (Simon Pulse). She is the cofounder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need More Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush-painting student. Learn more about her books and art at CindyPon.com.See all Product description
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It was absolutely wonderful, the best mix of grey-morals and scifi, and I loved the fact that we finally had a scifi book set somewhere other than America on Earth, and highly recommend this. I can't speak much to the rep in depth because I am not Taiwanese, but, as far as my knowledge goes, it was wonderful, positive, and awesome.
Cons: slow at times
Jason Zhou has been living on the streets of Taipei since his mother died when he was thirteen.The haves (yous) and have nots (meis) are at odds in the city, a situation exacerbated by the terrible pollution covering the city in perpetual smog and acid rain, pollution the yous never experience, all but living in suits fitted with filtered oxygen and temperature controls. Zhou’s closest friends have come up with a plan to stop the creator of the suits, a man who’s also bribing and threatening - even murdering - politicians to prevent any environmental clean-up. That plan begins with him kidnapping a you girl for ransom. Because bringing down the man is an expensive business.
I loved that the book was set in Taipei. It’s cool inhabiting another city, even if it’s one in an unpleasant extrapolated future. Given the way global warming is being treated, I have no problem believing that the future will be covered in smog and that life expectancy will drop because of it. I also have no problem believing that the rich will isolate themselves from the problems of the world so long as those problems aren’t seen as directly impacting them.
Zhou and his friends all have different strengths, making them fascinating to watch as they work on their plan. I loved that they complemented each other’s skills and that though they didn’t always agree, they worked things out. Daiyu was also great, a mixture of determined, smart, courageous, and feminine. The characters all felt like fully fleshed out people.
The story was interesting, though I found it was slow at times. I never really worried characters wouldn’t pull through, even though there were some tense moments.
This is a great book.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I think if it's your first time reading scifi, you'll enjoy it immensely. It's got action, cool technology, exciting plot and a future that scares you because it's so realistically possible. But for a massive fan of scifi, I found it full of clichés, and very predictable. I felt like i had read the same thing before.
Lots of things were far fetched, and irked me. Not the science, actually: but the plot itself. The logic behind sending Zhou in undercover - to befriend the woman he once kidnapped, the daughter of a man who had a man hunt out for him? - is just absurd, and bugged me out of the story. Other decisions like that made the story not flow easily.
And other small things got in my way of truly enjoying the book: the fact that Iris always has to be doing something dangerous (her only character trait is that she's dangerous, and this gets repeated over, and over again) for example. The characters other than Zhou or Daiyu were flat, with the author reminding us over and over why they're not. But one character trait does not make a character complex.
It just was hard to get into the style. The constant repetition of traits, the fact every chapter starts days/weeks forward and then Zhou has to tell you "we were doing this," the lack of chemistry between Zhou and Daiyu...
I'm disappointed, because I was really excited about this novel. I mean, it's so cool to see a novel set in Taiwan! And that cover, wow! Taiwanese MCs! But the story fell flat. While the worldbuilding was extremely realistic (as I said, real enough to scare me) the plot was nothing new.
I really liked Cindy Pon's new book. It’s a kidnap job that becomes an eco-espionage thriller, with some serious conman action and tantalizing romance. It surprised me how much I wanted this book. Jason and Daiyu make great romantic interests, and the whole crew that Jason runs with is interesting, and despite their careful artifice, they do love one another. I’m also really sympathetic to Jason’s preference for a dark wardrobe, ie: he wears black almost all the time. Anyone who likes a science fiction book that is cognizant of today’s half-in attitude on environmental preservation will be sympathetic to the bittersweetness of a neon and smog filled metropolis of Taipei depicted here. Also, if you like boys who throw knives, check it out.
I think I felt early on, when the teens were in their lair, that this book had a celluloid and grit feel of a tech noir on par with Ghost in the Shell, but the questions posed here are more immediate and make your actions resonate. The villain of the piece argues, later on, that we are consumers, and the world was made to be consumed. The trade off for whatever we want whenever we want it, is shorter life spans for the poor and isolated comfort for the rich.
Speaking of the rich, Pon really shines when she describes the sparsity and the luxury, I feel like physicality, no pun, is her strong-suit. The best moments were the ones of intimacy between characters.
Unfortunately I felt like she didn’t have the opportunity to let some characters get as much traction as our main duo, even though the job she did with them almost makes up for it.
In the end however, the mystery leaves it hard to feel the impact.
And I’ve been thinking about it, and there’s something wholly organic about the love that grows. When Jason notices Daiyu’s “toned legs” at one point there’s nothing exploitive or fetishized about it, and that’s kind of stellar. This should be the standard. I don’t know why it almost always feels like a guy is leering when he talks about his love interest. All the other characters, have or have-not, are described in fair terms.
I could have enjoyed some more tension during the heist scenes, but I think I also read this book very quickly. It isn’t terribly long which is both good and bad, this book needs space to breathe, a plan this fool-proof needs time to unfold in your mind. There are month jumps, which Pon does not leave ambiguous, and by the time the story has wrapped up, a year had passed between the covers.
I think my only real quibble is that I would have liked even more growth from Jason, while he did realize the world wasn’t exactly black and white, so I can’t be mad.
My hope though, since there is already plans for a sequel, that we get to focus on other characters since I don’t know how taipei-lovers Daiyu and Jason will leave for Shanghai. (Okay, that one was a pun.)
One last thing, I know Li Bingbing is too old, but she was who I thought of when I imagined Daiyu. Also the cover is gorgeous and totally worth bookstagramming. Make sure you pick this book up when it comes out, it will leave you mourning the blue sky and fresh air while you still have it. Otherwise we’ll be the next fishbowl heads living in a smoggy world.
Spoiler: y’all it REALLY WAS THAT GOOD.
This is one of the most fabulously paced near future sci-fi that I’ve read in a long, long time. While I questioned it as I started reading, this started in exactly the right place and then sent us backward just long enough to establish the stakes and the horrible truth of just how far the antagonist would go to keep everything going the way he wanted it to. And once we’d established that – the story took off and just pulled me along in the best way. The mission and Zhou’s time among the you crowd intertwined so well. Just awesomely done.
And can I mention Zhou for a moment? Holy crap it’s been a while since I’ve crushed on a main character so hard. He just got me right in the feels with damn near every scene. And he and Daiyu together were a fabulously swoony couple. I was rooting for them the entire time even with everything that should rightly have made them a terrible idea LOL. But they worked so well as equals, and that just hit me right in the competency kink.
I have to admit though that they were not the only couple I ended up ride or die for by the end of the book. I hadn’t heard anything about them, so discovering that there was a major side couple of two incredible wlw was just a fabulous bonus for me. Plus ONE OF THEM IS BI!! … OK so I admit it’s possible that character realized she was a lesbian after dating men but then falling for a woman, but my little bi heart was just beating like crazy for those two so I’m headcanoning her as bi so there LOL.
Finally I think my absolute favorite part of this book was the glorious sense of place. I’ve never been to Tai Pei, but I could see the streets Zhou lived on so well! Plus oh good lord the street food discussions and the family dinners with the group just had me drooling and getting hungrier the longer I read. Just a gorgeous setting in this book. I loved it kind of a lot.