I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.MARTians by Blythe Woolston
Published by Candlewick Press on October 13th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Science Fiction, Urban, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, BAM, Book Depository
In a near-future world of exurban decay studded with big box stores, daily routine revolves around shopping—for those who can. For Zoë, the mission is simpler: live.
Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, is starting work at AllMART, where "your smile is the AllMART welcome mat." Her living arrangements are equally bleak: she can wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, leaving Zoë behind, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds. With a handful of other disaffected, forgotten kids, Zoë must find her place in a world that has consumed itself beyond redemption. She may be a last girl, but her name means "life," and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.
This is my first novel by Blythe Woolston and to be completely honest I had never heard of her before the release of MARTians. I was not at all disappointed, Blythe is a very talented and creative writer.
MARTians is a very dark dystopian novel based on the current societal trend towards wasteful consumption. People have placed all their trust in big companies and their sole drive in life is to consume as much as possible. We also get to follow the disastrous events of Zoe Zindleman’s life after she is graduated early from school in the name of “efficiency” and her AnnaMom abandons her. Zoe is faced with the unexpected burden of growing up well before she had originally expected and her new life as a big box employee begins almost immediately. At the same time she meets Timmer, the boy who changes her life and in turn changes her perception of reality.
I’ve read that MARTians is a YA novel, but it read more like an adult novel by dealing with coming of age issues and economics in a very adult way.
So, was MARTians worth the read? Definitely! It’s a relatively short and enthralling read filled with plenty of action. We get to see a familiar world of box store employment, but with a dark, quirky twist. The gloomy and often comical narrative of Zoe is entertaining with some really interesting social commentary on the side.
I was often reminded of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World while reading this novel. I’m not sure if this was because I’d just finished reading Brave New World before starting the MARTian, but it definitely struck me as a modernized version. A world filled with people who are not just complacent with their lot in life, but happy in the belief that big corporations have their best interests at heart. But do they? In a way, MARTian is like Brave New World because just like in Huxley’s work the people are blind to their true reality of their lives and only one character can really see reality for what it is: in shambles.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy dystopian, societal commentary, plucky humor and strong dialogue. There is absolutely no romance but plenty of interesting characters who help Zoe develop quite a wild narrative that only makes perfect sense at the very end of the book. MARTians is a novel that ends with bang, not a whimper.