Review: Swipe

I received this book for free from Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: SwipeSwipe by Evan Angler
Series: Swipe #1
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 8, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 275
Format: ARC
Source: Blog Tour

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, "Swipe" follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn't even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It's almost Logan Langly's 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn't been able to shake the feeling he's being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is "Left Behind" meets "Matched" for middle-grade readers.

First Sentence: “The moon was the color of blood, and the clouds moving past were pale like bone.”

There are a lot of dystopian elements going on in here. Like a lot. Corrupt government. Check. Revised history. Check. Creepy ways to track all citizens. Check. Mysterious deaths. Check. Religion replaced with patriotism (The Inclusion). Check. Evil adults! Check, although that’s not so much dystopian as MG/YA, but whatevs. So yeah, lots of things. They do all seem to nest pretty well and believably, which is good. Sometimes authors try to make too many things happen in their books, and it ends up feeling like a forced, cluttered mess, but not so Swipe.

Swipe is getting added to the list of books that tells me to stop being all judgey judge about books based on the publisher. Like Halflings, Swipe is published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher. I have nothing against Christians, but I cannot deal with inspirational fiction at all, like when every chapter starts with a Bible verse and everyone’s always praying and praising the lord (Hallelujah!) every other paragraph. However, these books are reminders to me that just because a novel is published under the Christian fiction umbrella, it really doesn’t have to mean that it’s pushing a religious message all up in your face.

Oddly, Swipe reminded me of The Immortal Rules, despite being for completely different age groups, and mostly different dystopians. What they share, though, is the mark. In Kagawa’s I believe that the registered are branded or tattooed or something, which earns them a right to food from the vampire government. In Swipe, there’s a similar system. People can choose not to be marked at the age of 13, but that means you’re not getting anything. Son, you’re on your own. Basically, the government is saying that unless you let us track you, you’ll have to become a criminal to survive, so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Nice.

The only thing that really didn’t jive with me was the Dust. I have trouble seeing how the government could have trouble stopping that movement. I mean, they know where a lot of them are, and it’s not like the people would really care. It just seems like, so far as resistance movements go, the Dust was pretty lame, and should have been easily nipped in the bud. Perhaps, though, this will receive explication later on.

Much of the story reads like a dystopian mystery. Erin and Logan take on the role of teenage sleuths to figure out who is watching Logan, and what Erin’s dad is doing in Spokie. Swipe reads somewhere between middle grade and young adult, perhaps ideally aimed at folks in their young teens. However, I found it to be a solid, fun dystopian read, and will be checking out book two, Sneak, for sure.

Favorite Quote:

“In an age of infinite digital documentation, paper was the last safe place for secrets.”

4 responses to “Review: Swipe”

  1. Nori says:

    This books sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway! Also, I love your favorite quote. I reminds me of a dystopia you didn’t love, but I did (matched).

  2. muzette says:

    I also read this book and had the same preconception you did about the publisher. It turned out I really enjoyed the book!

  3. books4me says:

    I always appreciate an honest review…seems like overall you liked it but you did have some things you didn’t care for. My teen will be 14 next month and I think she might like this book. Like most kids her age, she reads a lot of dystopians…she is an avid reader like her mom (*smile*) and goes through a lot of books!


  4. Laurie C says:

    Love your expression: “being all judgey judge”!

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