Feed by M. T. Anderson

February 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm (Young Adult Lit)

This novel seems to me to have been written to appeal to young adult publishers, rather than an authentic young adult audience. Anderson takes two of the most saleable elements of young adult fiction, the fantasy/sci-fi setting and the issue novel and squeezes them together in this book. His sci-fi is laden with cliches: people live in bubbles/domes, they drive flying cars that can steer themselves, and they are constantly hooked into the internet through some kind of  physical implant. His issues are just as stale, and designed to appeal to the broadest possible cross-section of middle class American teenagers: death, love/relationships, the environment and popularity. Anderson does have moments of real humor in this book. The back story behind his “ugly” friend’s appearance, and his history as a genetic clone of Abraham  Lincoln is one of these moments, as are all appearances of the main character’s father, a man who expertly mocks a certain kind of increasingly visible involved-but-cool dad (the kind of father I imagine Matthew McConaughey would be). However, these instances of humor often seem overly subtle for a teenage audience, designed instead to appeal to the critics who have lauded this book. And even in its flashes of brilliance, the humor isn’t enough to lift the entire novel above its cliches.

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