Age Range
Release Date
October 13, 2015
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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.

Editor review

1 review
Big Box Dystopia
Overall rating
Writing Style
When Zoe's school is closed by the governor as a cost saving measure (why tax people and use their money for things they don't want?), she finds herself graduated and in line for a job at ALLMart. Her mother, knowing that the house is foreclosed and it's a matter of time before she has nowhere to live, abandons Zoe and moves to the city. This is not unusual in the dystopian landscape that Zoe inhabits; money is tight, consuming merchandise is the driving factor in the economy, and whole neighborhoods are abandoned when people can't meet their mortgages. After she gets a job at ALLMart, Zoe realizes there is no bus from her house, and Timmer, a fellow employee, comes to her rescue. He is living in an abandoned strip mall with a little boy who won't speak after being abandoned by his family, and invites her to stay with him. She does, all the while hoping that her mother will call. Things go from bad to worse when she realizes her paycheck goes mostly back to ALLMart to pay for her uniform, and a friend of Timmer's brings a baby home from the care center at ALLMart, and the group has to find a way to turn it over to the authorities without being caught. Zoe tries to retrieve her mother's belongings from storage when the contents are about to be auctioned, but that's the bright spot-- things don't get any better in this realistically dystopian book.
Good Points
This was a compelling read for me, and quite the social commentary. Well-written, smart, and darkly funny. The world building was quite complete, and there were some very clever details. I loved the animatronic model home that the group finds, and the scenes where the group broke in to the storage unit were brilliant.

Readers who like politically driven classic science fiction will find this fascinating, and anyone who has put time in wearing a smock and telling people to have a nice day will find this to be a chillingly accurate depiction of the way the world might be if we continue to rely so heavily on consumerism as a way to drive the economy.
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