Feed
Feed

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Annotation: In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.
Catalog Number: #98244
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2004
Pages: 299 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-6262-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-01273-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-6262-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-01273-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2002023738
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In this strange, disturbing future world, teens travel to the moon for spring break, live in stacked-up neighborhoods with artificial blue sky, and are bombarded by a constant advertising and media blitz through their feeds. They live with a barrage of greed and superficiality, which only one teen, Violet, tries to fight. Intrigued by Violet's uniqueness, Titus begins a relationship with her in spite of his peers' objections. Yet even he cannot sustain the friendship as her feed malfunctions and she begins to shut down. "They" refuse to repair her feed because she is too perceptive and rebellious. This didactic, also very disturbing book plays on every negative teen stereotype. The young people are bored unthinking pawns of commercialism, speaking only in obnoxious slang, ignoring or disrespecting the few adults around. The future is vapid and without direction. Yet many teens will feel a haunting familiarity about this future universe. As a cautionary tale, the story works; it is less successful as YA literature.
Horn Book
In this ingenious satire of corporate America and our present-day value system, Titus and his bored suburban friends are connected to one another, to merchandise, entertainment, even School(tm), through the "feed," a brain implant that provides instantaneous communication and information. Inventive details help evoke a world that is chillingly plausible. Like those in a funhouse mirror, the reflections the novel shows us may be ugly and distorted, but they are undeniably ourselves.
Kirkus Reviews
"I don't know when they first had feeds. Like maybe, fifty or a hundred years ago. Before than, they had to use their hands and their eyes. Computers were all outside the body. They carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe." Titus and his friends have grown up on the feed—connected on a 24-hour basis through brain implants to a vast computer network, they have become their medium. "The braggest thing about the feed . . . is that it knows everything you want and hope for, sometimes before you even know what those things are." Titus is a master at navigating this world where to consume is to live, but when he meets Violet, a distinctly unusual girl whose philology-professor father has chosen to homeschool her instead of sending her to SchoolTM, he begins, very tentatively and imperfectly, to question this equation. Thrown together when their feeds are hacked at a party and they are temporarily disconnected, their very hesitant romance is played out against the backdrop of an utterly hedonistic world of trend and acquisition, a world only momentarily disturbed by the news reports of environmental waste and a global alliance of have-not nations against the obliviously consuming US. Anderson ( Handel, Who Knew What He Liked , 2001, etc.) has crafted a wickedly clever narrative in which Titus's voice takes on perfectly the speech patterns of today's more vapid teens (" Oh, unit,' I was like, is this malfunction?' "). When Violet's feed begins to fail, and with it all her life functions, she decides to rebel against all that the feed stands for—the degradation of language, the self-absorption, the leaching of all culture and independent thought from the world—and Titus must make his choice. The crystalline realization of this wildly dystopic future carries in it obvious and enormous implications for today's readers—satire at its finest. (Fiction. YA)
Publishers Weekly

In this chilling novel, Anderson imagines a society dominated by the feed—a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain. In a starred review, PW called this a "thought-provoking and scathing indictment of corporate-and media-dominated culture." Ages 14-up. (Mar.)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-For Titus and his teenaged friends, having transmitters implanted in their heads is as normal as going to the moon or Mars on vacation or as common as the lesions that have begun to appear on their bodies. Everyone's "feed" tells them everything they need to know-there's no need to read or write. All purchases are deducted from the credit account that's part of the feed. Talking out loud is rare because everyone "chats" over the feednets. Then Titus and his friends meet a girl named Violet at a party on the moon, and a hacker attacks them and damages their feeds. Everyone is OK except for Violet, who is told in secret that hers is so damaged that she is going to die. Unlike other teens, she is homeschooled and cares about world events. She's not afraid to question things and is determined to fight the feed. Anderson gives his characters a unique language that teens will relate to, but much of it is raw and crude. Young people will also appreciate the consumeristic lifestyle and television shows that are satirized in the book. Violet and her father are the only truly sympathetic characters. The other teens are portrayed as thoughtless, selfish, and not always likable. Only Titus learns anything from his mistakes and tries to be a little less self-centered. A gripping, intriguing, and unique cautionary novel.-Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Word Count: 51,998
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 62556 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.7 / points:13.0 / quiz:Q31932
Lexile: 770L
It was maybe, okay, maybe it was like two days after the party with the "never pukes when he chugalugs" that Violet chatted me first thing in the morning and said she was working on a brand-new project. I asked her what was the old project, and she was like, did I want to see the new one? I said, Okay, should I come over to su casa? I’ve never been there, and she was like, No, not yet. Let’s meet at the mall.

I was like, Okay, sure, fine, whatever swings your string, and she was all, Babycakes, you swing my string, which is a nice thing for someone to say to you, especially before you use mouthwash.

So I flew over to the mall near her house through the rain, which was coming down outside in this really hard way. Everyone had on all their lights until they got above the clouds. Up there it was sunny, and people were flying very businesslike.

The mall was really busy, there were a lot of crowds there. They were buying all this stuff, like the inflatable houses for their kids, and the dog massagers, and the tooth extensions that people were wearing, the white ones which you slid over your real teeth and they made your mouth just like one big single tooth going all the way across.

Violet was standing near the fountain and she had a real low shirt on, to show off her lesion, because the stars of the Oh? Wow! Thing! had started to get lesions, so now people were thinking better about lesions, and lesions even looked kind of cool. Violet looked great in her low shirt, and besides that she was smiling, and really excited for her idea.

For a second we said hello and just laughed about all of the stupid things people were buying and then Violet, she pointed out that, regarding legs to stand on, I didn’t have very much of one, because I was wheeling around a wheelbarrow full of a giant hot cross bun from Bun in a Barrow.

I said, "Yum, yum, yum."

She was like, "You ready?"

I asked her what the idea was.

She said, "Look around you." I did. It was the mall. She said, "Listen to me." I listened. She said, "I was sitting at the feed doctor’s a few days ago, and I started to think about things. Okay. All right. Everything we do gets thrown into a big calculation. Like they’re watching us right now. They can tell where you’re looking. They want to know what you want."

"It’s a mall," I said.

"They’re also waiting to make you want things. Everything we’ve grown up with - the stories on the feed, the games, all of that - it’s all streamlining our personalities so we’re easier to sell to. I mean, they do these demographic studies that divide everyone up into a few personality types, and then you get ads based on what you’re supposedly like. They try to figure out who you are, and to make you conform to one of their types for easy marketing. It’s like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone. And gradually, everyone gets used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple. So the corps make everything even simpler. And it goes on and on."

This was the kind of thing people talked about a lot, like, parents were going on about how toys were stupid now, when they used to be good, and how everything on the feed had its price, and okay, it might be true, but it’s also boring, so I was like, "Yeah. Okay. That’s the feed. So what?"

"This is my project."

"Is . . . ?"

She smiled and put her finger inside the collar of my shirt. "Listen," she said. "What I’m doing, what I’ve been doing over the feed for the last two days, is trying to create a customer profile that’s so screwed, no one can market to it. I’m not going to let them catalog me. I’m going to become invisible."

I stared at her for a minute. She ran her finger along the edge of my collar, so her nail touched the skin of my throat. I waited for an explanation. She didn’t tell me any more, but she said to come with her, and she grabbed one of the nodules on my shirt - it was one of those nodule shirts - and she led me toward Bebrekker & Karl.

We went into the store, and immediately our feeds were all completely Bebrekker & Karl. We were bannered with all this crazy high-tech fun stuff they sold there. Then a guy walked up to us and said could he help us. I said I didn’t know. But Violet was like, "Sure. Do you have those big searchlights? I mean, the really strong ones?"

"Yeah," he said. "We have . . . yeah. We have those." He went over to some rack, and he took these big searchlights off the rack. He showed us some different models. The feeds had specs. They showed us the specs while he talked.

When he went into the back to get another, cheaper searchlight, I said to Violet, "What next?"

She whispered, "Complicating. Resisting."

Bebrekker & Karl were bannering us big. It was, We’ve streamlined the Tesla coil for personal use - you can even wear it in your hair! With these new, da da da, and Relax, yawn, and slump! While our greased cybermassage beads travel up and down your back! Guaranteed to make you etc., like that.

I was like, "Okay, huh?" but the guy came back and he had another searchlight.

He told us, "You can see shit real good with this one? I have one of these on my upcar. It’s sometimes like - whoa, really - whoa. There was this one time? And I was flying along at night and I shined the light down at the ground, to look at the tops of all the suburb pods? And all over the top of them, it looked like it was moving, like there was a black goo? So I turned up the brightness, and I went down, and I shined it more bright, and it turned out the black moving goo was all these hordes of cockroaches. There were miles of them, running all over the tops of the domes. . . .

Excerpted from Feed by M. T. Anderson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Discussion Guide: Feed Discussion Guide

"This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate- and media-dominated culture." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.


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