Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: Want by Cindy Pon

Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publication Date:June 13, 2017
Pages:336 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Website:Cindy Pon

Want on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review

Where to get:


From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

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?


"I took a leap of faith", she said to me. It was my turn to jump.
Nothing big was ever gained without sacrifice.
Books aren't afraid to show you the truth. 
Seize control of the narrative. Redirect the plot.

We are all creatures of this earth, of this shared ecosystem.

     Welcome to near-future Taipei, the world divided between yous (the ones who have) and meis (the ones who don't). The world, in which the air is so polluted and filled with viruses, the sky is no longer blue and people who can't afford luxurious and incredibly expensive suits designed and sold exclusively by a dirty international corporation based in Taipei. 

This was what it meant to be a you, to have. To be genetically cultivated as a perfect human specimen before birth - vaccinated and fortified, calibrated and optimized. To have an endless database of information instantly retrievable within a second of thinking the query and displayed in helmet. To have the best air, food, and water, ensuring the longest possible life spans as the world went to rot around them. 

Jin Corporation isn't only responsible for the invention and manufacturing of the protective, ultra-advanced suits that keep the polluted air away, ensuring a healthy, comfortable life for the rich of the world. The company also makes sure that the suits are in high demand in the first place. They are powerful, merciless and won't stop at anything to get their way. And that includes corruption, threats, murder and endangering lives of thousands of people. 

If I had learned anything growing up, it was that there were no guarantees in life. But that didn't mean you simply sat back and never tried.

A group of young environmental activists has come up with a wild and extremely dangerous plan to stop the Jin Corporation. They're clever, resourceful, unafraid to take the risks and willing to sacrifice for the cause. All they want to do, is make a difference. 

We follow this story through the eyes of Zhou, a teenage boy who lost his mom to the sickness caused by the city's pollution and viruses. He's the one charged with infiltrating the corporation, in order to destroy it. To do that, he needs to pretend to be one of the rich yous and befriend the Jin Corp CEO's daughter, Daiyu. This near-impossible task gets even more complicated when Zhou begins to develop feelings for Daiyu...

     Want is a powerful, intelligent, and very deftly plotted Sci Fi novel with environmental undertones that feel all too familiar and real for comfort. Deadly smog, corruption, social divides - it's all stuff we are faced with presently, all around the world. It really isn't too hard to believe/connect with the plot of this book, as the ideas explored by Cindy Pon aren't some far-fetched, vague, fantastic schemes pulled out of a magical hat. These are all issues that surround us. 

    As someone who was recently diagnosed with asthma and went through days upon days of not being able to breathe, I feel like I was able to get into the mindset of the meis in this book more than I usually would. And even though Cindy Pon didn't include any gruesome details in her descriptions of the people suffering as a result of the low social status and inability to afford air purifiers and suits, the idea of people suffering such horrible fates got deep under my skin. 

     Want isn't only about environment, activism and trying to stop an evil corporation from destroying the world completely. The story is much more than just that. It's about friendship, sacrifice, and unlikely allies. It's also about love and how we shouldn't judge people based on their appearance, social status, or family roots. And it's written in a very captivating, fast-paced style that keeps you flipping pages till you hit the back cover. I breezed through this book, it was so good! And I really enjoyed getting to know the diverse cast of characters and cheering them on their mission. I definitely recommend reading it, especially if you enjoy action-packed plot lines, drool-worthy food descriptions and books set in Asia. 

I loved Want so much, I actually made two designs inspired by this story. You can check them out here:

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