From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city. Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost. With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary. Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?
What worked: I love Pon's writing which uses diverse characters in lush, vivid surroundings. In this case it's a futuristic Taipei. The writing is dynamic and readers feel as if they're actually in this dystopian world. The horrors of pollution, along with the portrayal of the division between wealthy and poor, is shown in such a way that it leaves you gasping. There's more than a few scenes that are graphic and very intense. Even though I've never been to Taipei, I could envision this futurist city, with not only the darkness but the beauty. Yes, Pon, nails the whole setting as a character!
Zhou's character is one that is multi-layered as a survivor who witnessed the death of his mother because they couldn't afford the medicine. He directs this anger toward a greedy corporation that makes money off the suffering of thousands. Zhou though also has nicks in his anger whenever he gets around Daiyu. He knows he shouldn't have any feelings toward the 'enemy', but that doesn't stop him from wanting to be around her.
A huge plus is this novel is filled with diverse characters including a strong Asian protagonist. His own gang of friends who help him with his mission are also not the stereotypical 'side-kicks'. **Loved the relationship between cyber hack Lingyi and dare devil Iris.
Daiyu, isn't the heroine in distress. She shows her own hidden strengths. Zhou and her relationship is complicated at first. There are some twists and turns throughout the story, including what will happen with these two. Their friendship would be considered 'forbidden' or not realistic if they did meet each other before Zhou infiltrated her world. In a way, both help each other arc toward the end of the story.
Fast-paced, engaging, dystopia set in the futuristic world of Taipei where one survivor's strength is put to the test.
Truthfully, I came across this book blindly. I don't have a lot of information about this book. Lately, I've been bias about YA Simon & Schuster book because they've been releasing amazing books and I find them the best for me. So basically since WANT is published by Simon Pulse, I just knew what good already. And having a consistent more than four-star ratings doesn't hurt either.
I did read the book description when I first sought it out. But I didn't read them again when I started reading it. My memory wasn't as clear so I dived into this book blindly, and it was amazing!
I love the concept of a distant future with the environment being toxic and dangerous to human race. Though not the first one to have that kind of concept, it's not touched on a lot. Because when we look at it closely, that could be our future... Pollution and climate change has been a constant problem now we have to admit that we shrug it of sometimes. So just the plot is amazing already.
But this book is more of like a spy story though. We have Zhou going undercover to infiltrate this evil person that I shall not touch on due to spoilers. And I find it very adventurous and exciting. But I saw that rather than Zhou discovering the secrets underneath, it was more of Zhou being spoon-fed and being handed with a golden platter of information which I thought wasn't fun. Which is basically the only thing I didn't like about the book. But then again, we have to give credit to Zhou's friends too.
Speaking a Zhou's friends. I love their group. It's the type of group you want to be part of. They are using their talents for the greater good which is amazing! And all of them are a star on their own. And I love that Cindy Pon did that. We have The Boss (Lingyi), The Charmer(Victor), The Brains (Arun), The Stealth (Iris), and The Spy (Zhou). That's how I would classify them but they are totally more than that. And I love that there is Asian diversity in this book. It's already diverse due to it being in Taiwan, but Asian diversity portrayed here is just freakin' amazing!
Now let's head on to Zhou and Daiyu! My fave characters in this fine book. I love that Zhou is selfless. He always thinks about others like his mom, his make-shift family, and of course Daiyu. I love that he's imperfect. He's a smart person, but his feelings are truly what makes him Zhou. Daiyu... is wow! She is quite the heroine. She is smart. And I just love smart girls in YA. Without giving away too much, she can definitely handle her own. And together! Oh my goodness! this Jaiyu or Daison or Zhoyu (Jason-Daiyu) pairing is just AAAAAHHHHH!!! I love them so much. I swear, there was this moment that I imagined them as characters in a romance novel or erotic novel. Because the way they were written whenever they're together is just electric and you just want them to kiss already! And I swear my fluttering heart just feels for this two! And that's a good thing! I love their romantic sides in this book.
This book has a lot of surprises. In totality, the book has so much to offer and reading this was a thrill. I'm so happy that this book has a sequel because I cannot for the life of me, accept that Zhou's story is done.
Congratulations to Cindy Pon for a very thought-provoking read. She did amazing in writing a book like this!
*I won this book as an ARC in Goodreads*
~ that romance aspect though!
~ the plot is just amazing
~ characters are so good, they are uniquely their own