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MARTians by Blythe Woolston


by Blythe Woolston

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A fun short dystopian YA book, which is set in a world, much closer to the one we are living in now than one would like to admit.
It could have gone a bit more into details at times, to give you more background and to not make the story line feel so unfinished at times, but then, maybe that was intended to show the bleakness of the ALLmartian life. ( )
  Black-Lilly | May 23, 2017 |
Received from Candlewich Press in exchange for an completely unbiased review.
Also posted on Silk & Serif

This is my first novel by Blythe Woolston and to be completely honest I had never heard of her before the release of MARTians. I was not at all disappointed, Blythe is a very talented and creative writer.

MARTians is a very dark dystopian novel based on the current societal trend towards wasteful consumption. People have placed all their trust in big companies and their sole drive in life is to consume as much as possible. We also get to follow the disastrous events of Zoe Zindleman's life after she is graduated early from school in the name of "efficiency" and her AnnaMom abandons her. Zoe is faced with the unexpected burden of growing up well before she had originally expected and her new life as a big box employee begins almost immediately. At the same time she meets Timmer, the boy who changes her life and in turn changes her perception of reality.
I've read that MARTians is a YA novel, but it read more like an adult novel by dealing with coming of age issues and economics in a very adult way.
So, was MARTians worth the read? Definitely! It's a relatively short and enthralling read filled with plenty of action. We get to see a familiar world of box store employment, but with a dark, quirky twist. The gloomy and often comical narrative of Zoe is entertaining with some really interesting social commentary on the side.

I was often reminded of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World while reading this novel. I'm not sure if this was because I'd just finished reading Brave New World before starting the MARTian, but it definitely struck me as a modernized version. A world filled with people who are not just complacent with their lot in life, but happy in the belief that big corporations have their best interests at heart. But do they? In a way, MARTian is like Brave New World because just like in Huxley's work the people are blind to their true reality of their lives and only one character can really see reality for what it is: in shambles.

This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy dystopian, societal commentary, plucky humor and strong dialogue. There is absolutely no romance but plenty of interesting characters who help Zoe develop quite a wild narrative that only makes perfect sense at the very end of the book. MARTians is a novel that ends with bang, not a whimper. ( )
  trigstarom | Jul 9, 2016 |
This book grew on me. Once you get past the school stuff, it becomes more interesting.
Zoe is in her last year of school in the future. An Orwellian future where if you are lucky, you get a job with one of the retail giants like AIIMart and if you are deemed unemployable you are carted off to jail. Zoe lives with her mother AnnaMom in a house they can no longer afford and are trying to sell in a cul-de-sac where every other house is for sale. Anna Mom has lost her job and so, on the same day that Zoe's school closes ( Congratulations students, you have all graduated!) she disappears in search of work and leaves Zoe to fend for herself.
Luckily Zoe has been implanted with a pacifying drug that has made her a model student and she is hired by AIIMart. What she doesn't realize is that all the training and uniforms and food provided are charged to her wages, so before she has earned her first pay check she is locked in debt to the company.
Luckily she is befriended by Mortimer who shows her the Warren ( an abandoned shopping mall) where she can live and enjoy the company of 5er ( a lost boy) and other AIIMart employees, while watching mind-numbing sexist news feeds on a local channel.
As a product of retail training and the "customer is always right " school; I loved this book as it was so close to the truth and our possible future. It will be interesting to see what current students think of it considering they are so caught up in the current consumer mindset. For the intelligent! :) ( )
  nicsreads | Jun 23, 2016 |
MARTians by Blythe Woolston tells a bleak, dystopia story exploring life in the near-future suburbs.

When Zoe’s public school is privatized, she’s fast-tracked for graduation and given the option of working at one of two super-sized, mega-stores. With her mom absent and her house in foreclosure, she moves into an abandoned strip mall. Although she excels at fitting into the system, she knows there must be more to life than her dead-end job in the rotting suburbs.

Librarians will find that this quirky work of science fiction strikes a chord with youth frustrated by the consumer culture and lack of empathy in today’s society.

To learn more about the author, read http://www.blythewoolston.net/.

Published by Candlewick Press on October 13, 2015. ARC courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  eduscapes | Jan 24, 2016 |
MARTians is such an interesting, short little novel. It paints a very bleak, grim picture of our future existence with the overabundance of technology and societal restrictions of self. The ending leaves us with a tiny ray of hope, at least, but I think the novel could have been fleshed out a little bit more to allow for more thorough characterization. ( )
  amandacb | Dec 27, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763677566, Hardcover)

In a near-future world of exurban decay studded with big box stores, daily routine revolves around shopping—for those who can. For Zoë, the mission is simpler: live.

Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, is starting work at AllMART, where "your smile is the AllMART welcome mat." Her living arrangements are equally bleak: she can wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, leaving Zoë behind, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds. With a handful of other disaffected, forgotten kids, Zoë must find her place in a world that has consumed itself beyond redemption. She may be a last girl, but her name means "life," and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:36:33 -0400)

In a near-future consumer dystopia, Zoë Zindleman must choose from limited, bleak housing options, including a converted strip-mall refuge that offers safety and proximity to her new place of work, ALLMART.

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