Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flash Point by Nancy Kress

Flash Point by Nancy Kress
Release Date: November 8, 2012
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America—and the fame game is on!  Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby—You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life—on and off camera.  - Goodreads.com

I had mixed feelings about this story.  On the one hand I liked it, because I really liked the main character, but on the other hand there were a few things that kept me from really immersing myself in the book.

First, there were quite a few characters that I just didn't like, first being Amy's sister Kaylie.  This was, to me, one of the most spoiled, selfish girls I've ever met in a book.  And I couldn't understand really why she was that way because it's not like they had a lifestyle that could spoil someone.  But she was kind of rotten, so hard on her older sister, and so very unappreciative.  I hated reading scenes that she was in because I knew she was just going to run down her sister, say something ugly or act like a brat.

On the flip side, Amy was my favorite character.  She was kind, brave, and took care of her family selflessly.  I hated some of the things she had to go through, and truly hated it whenever the viewing public would be down on her in their internet posts because I knew they weren't getting to see the real her. 

It seems like everyone in the story turns out not to be who you expected though, except for Amy.  There's more to Rafe, there's less to the other guy, Violet had secrets, and the other girl had more humanity than I gave her credit for. 

My biggest problem came with the actual show itself.  While I could definitely understand why the viewing public might watch such a show (after all, this world is one of poverty for the common man, so the chance to win millions would be a big draw), but the way the show scenarios were created just didn't seem to be all that interesting.  It was a good concept, but I felt like the actual scenes were kind of pointless and uninteresting, at least up until the end.  The last scenario was the best and redeemed things for me a bit.  It also showed the truth about most of the characters, and my judgement about them proved to be pretty spot on.  I loved Rafe and Amy the most and was glad how things ended for them.

Bottom line, the story, world-building, Rafe, Amy, and the writing were interesting and entertaining. I do wish a bit more had been done with the reality show aspect earlier on in order to make things a bit more serious and suspensful though.


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