Review: MARTians by Blythe Woolston

martians by blythe woolston

Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, has just been graduated. Early. Her options: wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds—a safe place, and close to AllMART, Zoë’s new employer, where “your smile is AllMART’s welcome mat.” Zoë may be the last girl, but her name means “life,” and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.

MARTians is set in a world of exurban decay studded with big-box stores, where its inhabitants are numbed by shopping and the six o’clock “news.” MARTians may be the future, but it is frighteningly familiar.

Description taken from Goodreads.

In a word, interesting.

And by interesting, I mean not for any middle-grader that I know. Probably not even for most YA readers that I know. There are parts of this book that are insightful, funny, deep, all things I appreciate and love, but much of it was crude or hard to understand.

After years of reading, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t do sci-fi where I have to figure lots of things out (Blood Red Road, I’m looking at you). This just barely scrapes into that category. The wording made this exhausting to read, even for such a short book, and I never felt attached to the characters or to the story. The descriptions, while certainly valiant efforts, fell flat, and this world wasn’t too compelling for me.

The ending does leave you thinking, and I want to say that I can see a few adults enjoying this, no one particularly comes to mind. While this had some interesting concepts, it’s not one that I would recommend. If you’re looking for a reasonably middle-grade sci fi, go for M.T. Anderson’s Feed. 2 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 224


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