The society set up in Glitch is, at least, dystopian, not just marketed as such, so that is good. It is not, however, particularly original, feeling from before the first page like so many others. In a little section before you begin the book itself, it says that secrets "started the wars and almost destroyed the planet. Secrets and lies and destructive passions. But we were saved from all that. We were logical. Orderly." This pretty much sets the tone for Glitch. I feel like a quarter at least of the dystopias I read are built around this basic premise: X causes terrible wars, so we have eliminated X with this drug/technology/whatever.
The very first issue I encountered as I began to read Glitch was the awkwardness of the first person storytelling for this kind of tale. Zoel is glitching, meaning that her connection to the Link intermittently crashes. During these times, she can think for herself and feel emotions and see colors. Ordinarily, she is completely logical, which apparently also means zoned out and zombiefied. Anyway, moving past that, I could not deal with narration that would tell me the Link had just reasserted control and she was no longer capable of thinking, followed by numerous emotion-fraught thoughts. Anastasiu never successfully made the Link sound like it was working on Zoe.
The next problem I noticed was Zoe. She is one of those heroines that is eternally surprised by everything. She has no survival skills. Like none. She does whatever people tell her to do, except when her telekinesis kicks in and does things FOR her. She spots Adrien following her everywhere and is all like, hey, that's vaguely creepy. Then, she gets taken by some official to a room where he generally is horrifying. Adrien breaks in and takes out the official and drags her up above ground, even though she doesn't know him and he won't answer any damn questions. Girl, don't even.
Heather Anastasiu decided to create new swear words for this future: "shuntin'," "crackin'" and "godlam'd." Certainly, swear words do often change with time (as some words used in my parents' day, for example, have lost impact or ceased use), so I totally get why she did this. However, they didn't come off as authentically belonging to these characters or this world: they read like obvious substitutions for the words we use now and made me immediately dislike Adrien, the one who said them all the time. Most irritating to me was godlam'd, which seems to exist solely to make it clear that it means goddamned. I mean, what would the longer word be if you reinserted the part now replaced by the apostrophe? Godlambed? Godlaminated? Godlamaaed? I can't think of anything that would make any sort of sense. Also, would a logical, emotionless society really still cling to religion enough to use an epithet built around God? These words might have worked better had there been any other changes between our modern terms and theirs, because they would not have stood out as much. The only other original word I noticed: "gnangy."
Yet again, I was disappointed to be reading a dystopia where the good guys and the bad guys are precisely who you think they are from the outset. Seriously, why is this the case with so many dystopias? Haven't you heard of twists? Or shades of grey? (Note: not 50 Shades of Grey)
At this juncture, the review is going to be entering spoiler territory, so continue at your own discretion.
Now, I have to talk about the 'romance' in this book. We have both instalove and a creepy stalker/rapist. Awesome, right? The instalove bothered me, but really pales in comparison to the other issue. Still, let's start there. Adrien has been crushing on Zoe ever since he saw her in his visions of the future. He takes her to his mom's house after breaking her out of school, where they make out and declare undying devotion to one another. Then they have to wipe her memory so she can return safely to school.
Up to this point, I wasn't in love with the book, but it was steaming along at a fairly respectable 2.5. The book had issues, boring and uninspired, but meh. Then things happen. It gets so much worse.
Back at school, with no memory of Adrien, Max, who Zoe tutors, requests additional study sessions at his house. Conveniently, parents work until ten PM, giving them lots of alone time in his bedroom. Max promptly confesses that he glitches too, can look like any other person, and that he wants to see her genitals (no joke...this scene was mad awkward). Teen boy + new emotions + seeing porn by accident = ATTEMPTED RAPIST. He proceeds to force many make out sessions on Zoe, and she lets him even though she's not enjoying them, because, obviously, it's nice to let boys do things with you, unless you're COMPLETELY sure you like some other boy better. Only then should you stop them. (Note: FALSE)
When Adrien comes back into the picture, Max begins to get insanely jealous, which means more forced kisses, some grabbing and lots of yelling. Finally, Zoe figures out that she's in OMG TRU LURV with Adrien. Note that all of this takes place with lots of sneaking into bedrooms, despite this being against the rules, surveillance and Regulators everywhere. Max sees them kissing and reacts in precisely the way you would expect: shoving her up against the wall, forcing a kiss on her again, and saying she WILL BE WITH HIM SOMEDAY.
All of this happens, plus Zoe finds out that Max was spying for the enemy. Still, SHE DOESN'T HATE MAX AND WANTS TO BE FRIENDS. Even Pinkie Pie would not want to be friends at this juncture. Honestly, I feel like I have a better understanding for Max's character than I do Zoe's. I mean, he at least has a reason for behaving the way he does. Her actions make no sense. She has no motivations. AAAAAGHHHH.
Summing up, Glitch is as filled with glitches as the heroine. I suspect some people will like it, but most will be disgusted by the lack of personality in the heroine as well as the lackluster plotting and writing.