From the prologue: What chance did Stephen Michael have of winning his Toss? In the year 2080 there were so many fourteen-year-old kids and so few scholarships. And if he lost--he hated to think about his choices then.
From chapter one: THREE YEARS LATER. Andrew Morton was lounging in the soft spot in the tattered couch where he always watched television.
What do Andrew Morton, Polly Pritchard, Robert Johnson, Billy Kanalski, and Grace Untoka have in common with each other? They're all fourteen, and they're all contestants of Historical Survivor, a reality show that 'teaches' by reenactment. This edition of Historical Survivor chronicles the tragic journey of Robert F. Scott and his team. The year? 1912. Their mission? To be the first to reach the South Pole. The Department of Education (DOE) led by Dolly Jabasco (Hot Sauce) will recreate the circumstances faithfully. They will have the tools and resources and supplies that Scott had with him. Can five children succeed where five grown men (experienced explorers) failed? The children, at first, are fearless. They believe that TV is TV. True, there have been a few deaths in past seasons of the show--but those were adults; they're kids. They believe that in a true emergency, the camera crew would be there to save them. Problem is, the camera crew seems to be invisible?! Where are they? How is this show being filmed?!
Told from each teen's perspective and the perspective of one of the editors who chooses to break all the rules, the book is an exciting adventure exploring the ethics and morality of the entertainment industry, society, and the government itself.
Andrea White's novel envisions the world--particularly America in the latter part of the twenty-first century as a shadow of its former self. Having cut all scientific research for economic reasons AND having stopped all public education systems for the same reason. Every household is required to have their children until the age of fourteen watch a certain number of 'educational' programs on TV per week--thirty hours. At the age of 14, each child is given a chance to win a chance at further education (high school, college, etc.) in a roll of the dice type situation. Money is scarce, and society is literally divided into the haves and have-nots.
I loved this one. I would definitely recommend it for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, and Rash.
Wishes were for people of the twentieth century, not the twenty-first. (10)
She couldn't believe how wrong modern people were. They didn't know that a person's mood came from the inside. (42)
Polly noticed a stack of books on her bedside table. She had read thousands of books on her electronic book card, which she refilled at the computary. But only once had she read a book with an actual cover and pages that turned. It was The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. She could still remember the pleasant hours she had spent with that book one summer on the steps outside her hut, fanning herself because of the heat. (59)
"Did you know that less than ten percent of the public votes in elections?" Chad said.
"No." Steve wasn't old enough to vote yet. But he knew his mom and dad had never bothered to register.
"Well, the more TV people watch, the less likely they are to vote," Chad said. "Do you understand yet?"
Steve shook his head.
"We're still called a democracy," Jacob broke in. "But only the politicians vote. They control who's in office."
"There's a lot of pressure on the Secretary to keep the ratings up," Chad said.
"The stakes are high. She's got to be always on the lookout for a new gimmick," Jacob added.
The series made more sense now. (83)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews