MARTians by Blythe Woolston Book Review

MARTians by Blythe Woolston
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 13, 2015

Zoë Zindleman, has just graduated. Early. She is lucky though, because she has two businesses that are interested in hiring her, both retail giants. She chooses AllMART. Her mother is gone, leaving Zoë behind in their empty abandoned neighborhood, which Zoë must too when she has no way to get to work. So Zoë moves into an abandoned strip mall with other kids who don't want to be complete slaves to AllMART. What happens when someone doesn't obey AllMART though? What happens when you don't toe the company line?

This is Idiocracy without the humor. Feed without the deep morality. I know that the author is writing of the dangers of a completely capitalistic society, but there was so much missing in this book. I had so many questions that went unanswered. Why are they graduating all the students early? Are schools becoming redundant? What about all the little kids? Why is Zoë so psychologically distanced from everyone and everything? I know she has a mood stabilizer that that doesn't really explain why she shows little concern for her mom, AnnaMom. Or why her mom just up and leaves for little reason and will never see her daughter again. Do they not have cell phones or communication in this world? Will her mother not ever be allowed to contact her daughter again? Why?

And where are all the people? This is a world in which there are giant Wal-Mart like shopping centers that basically run everything and yet everything in this place felt empty. Empty houses. Empty buses. There is never any mention of traffic and rarely even a mention of customers. Anyone who has ever worked retail knows how infuriating customers can be and yet Zoë rarely comes into contact with one. Who are all the people buying stuff at AllMART if everyone works for AllMART? Are they employees or are there actually other businesses out there that employ people? Who does AnnaMom work for? Why are so many businesses closed down? Abandoned strip mall, kids sleeping in cars, abandoned babies. Where are the parents?  Where are all the damned people? Why are they moving away from the suburbs? Where do they live now? If they are all working for AllMART and its competitor, where are they? 

I get not wanting to explain everything out in detail, but everything in this dystopian world just felt so empty. Empty of logic, empty of meaning, and empty of any kind of hope that these characters will ever get to be more than cogs in a machine.