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Swipe by Evan Angler

Posted on Apr 30, 2012 by in 3 stars, Book Reviews | 0 comments


Author: Evan Angler
Format: e-Book Galley ARC
Source: Tommy Nelson via NetGalley
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Dates Read:  March 14, 2012

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

This book was obtained freely from the publisher, Tommy Nelson, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Swipe was generally a good read.  The writing is geared toward the younger set, and it is primarily a mystery with dystopian flavor.  In the American Union, the Mark is the gateway to adulthood.  Pledge yourself to the government on your thirteenth birthday, receive your Mark, and gain your freedom to get a job, to shop, to do everything normal, model citizens do.  But what happens to those that don’t come back from their Pledge?  Supposedly they don’t exist; they are only a myth, an idle threat parents allude to to keep children on their best behavior.  Logan Langly knows that they are not an urban legend, because when his sister went to get her Mark, she never returned.  And ever since, Logan cannot shake the feeling that he is being watched, intruded upon.  When Logan accidentally finds the wire going to his bedroom window, all hell breaks loose.

Swipe is a fast-paced mystery about Logan’s battle to find the truth.  He meets Erin, the new girl in town, along the way.  When he tells her his backstory, he finds in her an unexpected ally–someone that, for the first time in his life, might actually believe his paranoia is legitimate.  Can they find the answers before it is too late?  Will they even be worth the cost?

Although I felt Swipe was generally good, there were things I didn’t particularly like about this book.  One was the cursing without actually cursing.  Perhaps it was mainly to add a menacing nature to the group of villainous Unmarked, as they were the ones that did this most.  However, to me, it just came off as absurd and disrupted the immersion in the story.  The Dust are not the only ones that used these made-up slurs, which made this effect more noticeable and worse to me.

Another thing I wasn’t a fan of was the violence in the story.  It wasn’t the mere fact that the violence existed in the story.  It was, again, that the way in which it was presented that disrupted the flow of the story for me as a reader.  The violence often didn’t make sense.  Why were the members of the Dust constantly hitting each other?  Is this supposed to be realistic?  It came off like the hyenas in The Lion King to me.  Absurd.  And I don’t think Angler was going for the funny angle.  I think it was supposed to add intimidation to the gang.  It didn’t do that for me.

The last issue was a lack of depth to the characters.  I felt there was very little development, excepting Logan.  I also felt that the emotional reactions in this novel were too low-key and unrealistic.  It seemed like the reactions were dulled by a net of apathy, which made it harder to connect with any of the characters.

Overall, I think this book would be a good read for younger children who like mysteries, particularly those who may be interested in getting into the dystopian trend but may be too young to read some of the other books out there, or who are just looking for something else to read.  It was enjoyable, and I will probably read the sequel when it comes out to find out what happens to Logan after the cliffhanger.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

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