Author: Cindy Pon
Genre: YA Science Fiction / Dystopia
Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: June 13, 2017
Murder, Pollution, Kidnapping, Epidemic, Class-ism
Taiwanese, Filipino, Hindi, Indian, Lesbian
TBR Readathon: #OwnVoices
Hogwarts House Battle: Predicted 5 Star
Oh man why don’t people talk about this book more often?? Seriously, this book is freaking underrated so much, like I don’t think I’ve seen any of my friends or bloggers and booktubers talk about this, and I’m trying to figure out why though?
Jason Zhou is our MC, and is a native of Taipei. He is an orphan after his mother died from a flu. He ends up being the one in his group that goes undercover as a rich boy to become friends with Jin Corp’s heiress to get information on how to topple this conglomerate. Unfortunately – well at least he thinks so – he ends up finding that he really likes her, and has to somehow keep his emotions in check.
Daiyu is Jin’s daughter, and going to take over Jin Corp from her father even though she has no choice. She was the kidnapping victim of Jason, but since he drugged her with a sleep and memory erasing serum so she wouldn’t recognize him again. She ends up befriending Jason, and I think she kind of has a crush on him. She wants to do more for Taiwan’s people that have been suffering from the pollution and all of the illnesses that come with it. She is pretty sheltered, but I guess it’s not always her fault.
Lingyi is the leader of Zhou’s group. She is a hardcore hacker, and the daughter of a disgraceful CEO that was blacklisted and ended up escaping to Shanghai with his wife and son. Lingyi stayed in Taipei to stay with her friends and finish school, and she is actually pretty rich from her dad’s company, but she doesn’t own one of the Jin Corp suits that keep the rich people from getting sick or dealing with the pollution.
Vic is also part of the group and he’s able to get some pretty expensive and cool shit somehow. He’s Filipino, and I don’t think I’ve ever really heard him mention his family except for one time when he was reminded of his mother. He has a swagger that hides his pain.
Iris is also part of the group. I swear she’s like a ninja or something. She’s been an orphan for much longer than the rest of the group, and she’s very quiet. The only one that I think she really enjoys is Lingyi, and I actually think that they love each other. It’s so cute, and I’m glad that they are able to bring joy to one another in such a situation like this.
Arun is a genius type of scientist. His mother was one of the few people that tried to fight Jin Corp and get the legislation to pass in order to curb the pollution levels in the city. Unfortunately, his mother was murdered early on in the novel, and that’s what prompted the rest of the group to move on with their plan to take Jin Corp down from the inside. He’s obviously still hurting, but he’s doing whatever he can to figure out how to heal some of the sickness that’s rampant in the city.
Taiwan has been basically destroyed by pollution to the point that nobody really lives past 40 years old. The population is split into two groups: the mei and the you.
In the beginning of this book, before the novel starts, Pon gives us the definition of mei and you:
- Mei: without; pronounced “may”
- You: to have; pronounced “yo”
Basically, the mei are the poor population and the you are the filthy rich that are able to afford the Jin Corp suits and this disgustingly wealthy lifestyle. Talk about Crazy Rich. The pollution and the environment is so bad around the world that it’s rare that anyone lives past 40, especially if they are mei. Zhou and his friends have a plan to infiltrate the you lifestyle from the inside, using Jason has their inside man.
The plan initially starts when Zhou kidnaps Daiyu, but he didn’t realize that she was the heiress of Jin Corp until his custom made suit came in to play. They ransomed her to get funds, and now he has another mission: to be her friend, and gain any information that he can. Whatever it takes.
I’m kind of super turned on by Zhou though?
But in all honesty, I’m really like the friendship that Zhou and his team have. They are pretty much a family because all they can do is help each other stay alive. They make sure that they check up on one another and have dinner with one another every once in a while. If there was ever a good example of chosen family, this would be it.
Where the heck are all the good fan art for this book, man? Seriously this is such crap that this book is hella underrated.
I found one! Thanks to Cindy Pon for sharing this on her page, and Jason Chan for creating this. My favorite couple ever omg.
How disgustingly rich the you are, to the point that they constantly use so much money to change their appearance and indulge in extravagance while the majority of the city around them are dying and don’t have access to regular medicine. Dying because of the flu while these kids go out every night and waste food and money and resources just to have fun.
Just the whole situation was messed up in general, and I feel like this was a true case of the rich staying rich by making sure that the poor masses can’t save themselves or even live like human beings.
I feel like this was such a good point about a lot of rich people that donate their money to good causes but don’t actually solve the problem. Don’t get me wrong, donating money to something like this to fund research or other kinds of help is great, but if there really isn’t any sort of resolution or actual proof that these donations are helping anyone, then that’s a problem. The rich can’t just check the box by being “charitable” every year to get a tax break.
I really think I need to read more #ownvoices novels because I seem to have way more fun with them than others lately. I also am so glad that I found this novel, and that I got to enjoy it as much as I did. I can’t wait to read the sequel, and I plan on reading more from Pon in the near future. I really, really, really love this book. Wow. Not to mention I really felt for every single one of the characters that I talked about in the beginning, and I was rooting for Daiyu to stand against her father one day.
I honestly can’t wait for the sequel, seriously. I know I said this already but I need to say it again because it’s so true. I need more fan art for this novel. I need a TV show or a movie adaptation on this novel. I need more of this world ASAP.
Here are some reviews I found on this book from some of the people I follow in the blogosphere. Some of these may also include a review to the sequel Ruse, but since I haven’t read that one yet, I’m not going to read those just quite.