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A Reader of Fictions: Stay Awhile - Dusty Springfield

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stay Awhile - Dusty Springfield

Glitch, Book 1

Author: Heather Anastasiu
Pages: 359
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Source: St. Martin's Press via NetGalley

Description from Goodreads:
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

First Sentence: "I felt it coming this time."

Going into this, I had already seen the negative reviews rolling in from trusted sources. I am really grateful for that, because, had I not known, I'm pretty sure this would have been an even worse reading experience for me. Since I knew not to expect anything at all, I was better able to appreciate the few things that entertained me.

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.

Favorite Quote: "'The V-chip really only works in part because people accept it. People'll give up almost anything to think that they're safe from pain and fear. I mean, I get it. I really do. It's so much crackin' easier to accept an easy solution—even if it means letting yourself be lied to. The hard thing is finding the strength in yourself to stand up against the tide and say shunt no, I refuse!'"

Note: see what I mean about the swear words? How ridiculous do they sound? This would be a much better quote without them.

About the Song: It horrifies me how much the lyrics in this song fit with Max's words. *shudder*

"Stay awhile, let me hold you
Stay awhile, 'til I've told you, oh, oh
Of the love that I feel tonight, oh yeah

Stay awhile, what's your hurry?

Stay awhile, 'cause I worry, oh
Any time that you're out of sight

I hate to see you go

Tell you what I'll do
I'll be good to you
I'll make you glad that you are mine
So come on baby

Treat me right, must you run now?

For the night's just begun now, oh
Honey please, won't you stay awhile with me?, oh yeah, yeah

Remember: Every comment on a post during Dystopian August is an entry to win one of fourteen dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels IF you've filled out the form from this post.

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Blogger Lilian said...

AH HA! So here's the review I really wanted to read!

"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."
Wait...why did he bother doing all that stuff only to erase her memory? Did he rape her and wanted to erase all traces?

"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."
Oh gosh...*facepalm*

"shoving her up against the wall, forcing a kiss on her again, and saying she WILL BE WITH HIM SOMEDAY."
I have no words. Maybe if he had a love confession it would work better. Then he could be excused as a bad boy who doesn't know how to express his true feelings or something.

...yep, I think there's something wrong with this chick.

August 7, 2012 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Nope. He doesn't rape her, that I know of. Basically, he's like I saved you and we'll fight the man together. Then she's all like I'm dying of ALLERGIES. His mom's like we have to erase her memory and send her back. That's what happens.

She didn't say that. I just extrapolated it. Because there's a lot of making out between Max and Zoe and she never enjoys it.

Well, he did say that he thinks about her all the time. So that's kind of like love. Or, you know, wanting to do it.

Yeah, there is.

August 7, 2012 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

IF they erase her memory, does she have the brain of an infant then? OH, that would be hilarious.
OR do they only erase a bit of it?

So basically, she's a sex toy for Max.

August 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Only a bit of it, as in the bit that knew about the escape. Probably should have explained that, but oh well.

Yeah. Since he can look like other people, he shifted forms to look like this diplomat guy and found porn in his hotel room. After that, he was OBSESSED with getting some and she became the object of his...affections.

August 7, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

I don't get his logic.
Why not just shapeshift as a really hot celebrity and pick up girls at a bar. Much easier that way.

August 7, 2012 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Because all the people with the V-Chip and the link don't have sexual desires. Also, I don't think there are celebrities.

When you glitch, you get THE STIRRINGS.

August 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Katie @ BlookGirl said...

Ugh. Your review reminded me why I didn't both finishing Glitch. I couldn't get past the ridiculous "cuss words" and the boring beginning. I mean, seriously, 35% in, and the action hadn't even really started yet! Meh. Now I'm mad. LOL.

Great review, though, Christina!

August 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Be glad you stopped. That was the GOOD part. O_O

August 7, 2012 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger aLilLacey said...

The goodreads summary made me all pumped for this book, then your review made me deflate. I've been into books like this recently so i was excited for a new one. Hmmm. Guess I'll contemplate a goodreads add or not. Thanks!

August 7, 2012 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You can always check out some other reviews for this one. I tend to be a bit pickier than average. The GR average is like a 3.6 or so, which means a lot of people must have really enjoyed it. I just wasn't one of them. :-p

August 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Bekka said...

I don't remember doing this, but Glitch is on my TBR on GR. Why? This doesn't even sound like something I would like, based on summary alone.

Also, Pinkie Pie <3

August 7, 2012 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Maybe because she's an Apocalypsie? I marked all of those to-read, because a lot of them are awesome. Some fell flat though. I'll probably cleanse the shelf once 2012 is over.

Pinkie Pie is fantastic. It took me a while to make friends with her, but you know she always wins in the end.

August 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

Damnit, I'm only reading the first paragraph of your review. I already pre-ordered this book. >.<

I'll be back after I read it. *sobs*

August 7, 2012 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awww, sad day. Maybe you'll like it better.

August 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger brandileigh2003 said...

Sorry that is was disappointing. I was looking forward to this one...

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

August 7, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Alessandra said...

This book was meh for me, too.. although it sounds like you disliked it more than I did. That Max dude totally crept me out

When I read galleys which I don't like, I often wonder if the book will be different as a finished copy. Of course, if I don't like a book in ARC form, I'm not going to buy a copy and read it again just to check for differences.

On the other hand, I've yet to see a very positive review for this title. And no one likes Adrien's swearwords! I did pause and wonder if godlammed was supposed to be a real word and if yes, what should it mean?

August 8, 2012 at 3:05 AM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Without sexual desire? So I guess she wouldn't be able to enjoy it in the first place...I assume she doesn't even know what's going on?


August 8, 2012 at 5:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Max was hella creepy. Actually, though, Max didn't bother me. Really, as a character, he made more sense to me than just about anyone else. He was believable; Zoe's response to him was not.

I wonder that too. I mean, the GR rating is high, so some people must have liked it, but no one that I know. Will they make changes? Roll with it?

Yeah, I don't think godlam'd is anything but a way of saying goddamned without having swearing in your book. Sigh.

August 8, 2012 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Maybe you'll like it?

August 8, 2012 at 8:08 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, her V-Chip is glitching, malfunctioning, so she is now capable of sexual desire. However, she's never learned anything about it, because there's no sex for the regular folk in their society (I am unclear on precisely how the babies are made, but I know science is involved). Max saw some porn and was like I WANT TO GO TO THERE. He saw she was glitching, fixed on her, and determined to see her genitals as soon as possible.

She just wants everyone to like her, so she lets him make out with her, but doesn't understand why he wants to do that all the time. She doesn't let him go further mostly because she only wants to talk about how to save everyone.

August 8, 2012 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

"Shunt, no!" officially replaces "shit, no" in my Amazon reviews from now on as Amazon doesn't want you swearing. But seriously girl, super funny review! Godlaminated? that made me giggle plus some crazily awesome parts like "where they make out and declare undying devotion to one another" I'll just have to quote you next time I see that sort of instalove in YA. Awesome, awesome review!

August 8, 2012 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Christy Maurer said...

The swear words remind me of The Maze Runner lol. IDK this may be one I will read anyway just because of the scariness factor that this could really happen! :)

August 8, 2012 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I like the way you think. I've definitely had some Amazon reviews get denied, probably for swearing, but my reviews are so long that it's a pain to try to find the word at fault. Sigh. Why is life SO HARD?

Glad you liked it! I try to make my negative reviews entertaining but also analytical. Oh, instalove, you're the worst.

August 9, 2012 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

The Maze Runner's didn't bother me quite so much, but shuck and shunt are definitely the same thing.

If you're interested in it, you can always give it a try. My interaction with a book is not every reader's interaction!

August 9, 2012 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

*shrugs* Probably not. I'm weird with my sci-fi. Even worse - I accidentally ordered two copies. >.<

August 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh no! How does that happen?

August 20, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Paloma said...

I really wanted to read this book, but never got around to it. I am getting tired with the same formula.
Anyway, great review I think I will go and look around for other books. Or maybe I'll just read to see if it's as bad as reviews say. Appreciate the warning though.

December 31, 2012 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Aw, disappointed you didn't like this book. I've heard such great things about this. This was a great review on side of people that didn't enjoy this book! Thank you! I haven't yet read this book, but I'll get around to it soon.

February 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Please do. And it really is.

February 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Wow, I cannot believe you've heard such great things about this, since it is literally one of the worst books I've ever read in my entire life. It needed loads more editing.

February 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM  

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