As pollution in Taipei, Taiwan gets worse, Zhou and his friends decide that something must be done. The rich buy suits, to live longer lives, while the poor die from diseases on the street, or from the poison in the air. Zhou becomes one of the elite, infiltrating their ranks in hopes to stop the worsening situation.
Why this book?: Diverse dystopia set in Taiwan? Yes, please!!
I would like to thank the people at Simon Pulse for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Slow, captivating beginning
In Want, you are immediately thrown into the world. Zhou’s narrative gives you the perfect, biased point of view of the conditions of Taipei. You got an outsider’s point of view, before getting the inside point of view later on, giving you a unique feeling of being one with Zhou, as you feel what he feels, and realize it as he does.
While there is a brief explanation between what you and mei stand for in the beginning, it was difficult to grasp when being thrown directly into the story. With the quick immersion, there is also the negatives of being at a loss as to what is going on. I did know that mei (pronounced may) meant “without” and you (pronounced yo) was “to have” because of the brief key at the beginning, it was so confusing because Zhou and his friends only referred to people by this label. With terms like “you girl” or “mei servant” being thrown around, I had to keep reminding myself of what they meant by flipping back to the beginning.
Along with this, the beginning was very slow. The first third of the book is used to set up Zhou’s place within the you society, and even that didn’t start until his friends realized what they had to do. Even after Zhou entered the you life, things happened to fast and conveniently that I couldn’t help but feel that Pon was making up for lost space.
Diverse and unique
I can tell you without a doubt that there aren’t many dystopians that take place in Taiwan. A large amount of the characters were Taiwanese, but quite a few were of other ethnicities. Victor was Filipino, while the others were implied to either be Taiwanese or Chinese. Zhou himself was implied to be biracial, with an American mother and a Taiwanese father.
In addition, there was also a sapphic background couple. I seriously enjoyed that, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed with the books other romantic relationships. There was background unrequited love that felt really fake and unnecessary, and the main romance, Zhou and Daiyu, felt . . . not forced, but I personally thought they were better friends than a couple.
The ending was also very rushed, and cut off. The reader was shoved into a position without much information, and all of a sudden, things were happening and it was hard to follow. Other events happened off-page, and they never really registered with me, so I was waiting for certain things to happen and people to show up–but they never did, because of the events that were so easily swept under the carpet.
Final Rating: ★★★★½☆
Want is a very enthralling read, and I loved it to the very end. While things didn’t happen the way I wanted (or expected), it was still a very enjoyable and diverse read. I was rarely bored with how action-filled and exciting it was, despite how it took a while to fall into the world.
Would I Recommend?
I realize that the reasons I docked a half star were more personal if anything, but even without that I would recommend this book without a second thought. (I also realized with everything that bothered me, you’d think I would have docked more. I enjoyed Want to much to give it JUST four stars.)Not only will it appeal to lovers of YA dystopians, but it’s also diverse and unique, with subtle, background romance, of both male/female and sapphic relationships.
Published: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 336
Genre: Young Adult/Science fiction/Dystopia
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.
Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?