Published: November 8th 2012
Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America—and the fame game is on!
Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby—You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life—on and off camera.
Genre(s): Young-adult Dystopia
Page Count: 502
Used for the Popsugar challenge: A book set in the future
Hey there! Glad I’m finally reviewing this. I finished this sooner, but hadn’t gotten the chance to review it yet, but I got some time now so here I go!
I had this on my TBR list and started reading it a bit before I officially started the Popsugar Challenge. I finished it after a few days of my challenge, and let me just say this: It was a disappointment. A flop. As you can see from my rating, this wasn’t the best book I’ve read. I had such high hopes for this one, but it just didn’t click for me.
The only reason it does not have a 2 star or even 1.5 star rating was because I was able to finish the book without hating it, as well as the writing style helped make the book more enjoyable. It was only afterwards where my opinions changed.
Our protagonist, Amy, would’ve had a comfortable life if it wasn’t for the Collapse. Now she’s desperate to keep up with financial problems while taking care of her younger sister and sickly grandmother. When she gets the chance for good pay with medical benefits by being in the running for the new TV show Who Knows People, Baby–You?, Amy is quick to audition, ignoring her misgivings. When Amy ends up being one of the people starring in the show, she realizes the show isn’t as fun and simple as it seems when her life (and the lives of the people with her) is put in jeopardy.
So starting with the plot. The concept itself was really interesting, however Nancy Kress made it fall flat. I mean, it was a super cool story line, with the whole TV show risking lives, and the Hunger Games-ish idea, but Nancy Kress just wasn’t able to pull it off.
The main point of the story is about how the TV producers are risking the lives of Amy and the other stars on the show for the sake of having good ratings from viewers. The problem however is that while there were a few scenes where it was interesting, the actual ‘flash point’ or, climax kind of flopped. It reminded me a bit of The Maze Runner, except done worse.
Another thing that added to that problem is that although in the synopsis it is said that every time the ratings slipped, the TV producers ‘up the ante’ of the scenes the stars go through, really, the scenes weren’t all that great, to be honest. There were maybe a few select scenarios that were decent and mostly interesting, but not that many.
And finally, the last problem I had with the plot is the unnecessary and confusing ‘phantoms.’ Apparently Amy is some kind of clairvoyant, and gets these ‘phantoms’ that lets her see through the scenarios set up by the producers?For something so crucial (or so Kress makes it seem) to the story, you’d expect an explanation. The true story of what was happening to Amy in those moments was not explained at all throughout the entire book, and that really annoyed and frustrated me.
Overall, there were some parts I enjoyed, such as a couple of plot twists, but the plot definitely did not live up to its full potential.
To be honest, most of the characters were pretty predictable, save for a couple which goes back to the plot twist I mentioned above. Most of the people I thought were kind of useless and bothersome. Amy herself I found annoying, someone who I couldn’t relate with at all. She came off as a bit whiny at times, easily falls for a pretty face, and although she’s supposed to be all smart and everything, the very first couple of decisions she made sucked. Overall, I didn’t find Amy that enjoyable, and she definitely wasn’t a strong female lead like I was hoping for. I don’t specifically hate her, but I’m not her biggest fan, that’s for sure.
There is some romance in here, or at least a love triangle. I’m usually fine with love triangles as long as they’re done well. Sadly, this was not done all that well. I honestly did not care for either of the interests much, especially not for the one Amy first thought herself to be in love with (the pretty face). It was so obvious who actually likes her and who has more common interest with her, that I literally felt like shaking Amy to tell her to wake up.
The writing style wasn’t phenomenal, however it was quite enjoyable. The writing style is one of the main things that made me decide on a 2.5 stars rating instead of something lower. It flowed nicely, and was descriptive enough when need be. Note: there is swearing multiple times. That bothered me, as it was unnecessary to use such language, however I did my best to simply ignore it.
Overall, I don’t particularly recommend this book. If you’ve read Nancy Kress’s other works and are interested in this, then by all means try it out. I actually would love to hear your opinions on it! Perhaps it will shape my perspective into a more favorable opinion.
Not that hungry? I understand, this review isn’t increasing you appetite, is it? But if you are hungry, go eat it! I’d love to hear what you think of its taste.