Given our current political climate and the rage coma I've been in since last November, I've been actively avoiding dystopian fiction. Which is saying something because usually it's my main jam. But I just couldn't bring myself to read horror stories that were just WAY too close for comfort.
However, a friend recently read All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis and the moment she told me of the concept, I knew I needed to read it immediately. And if you know me, you know how many books I have in the TBR hopper. So it's indicative of how much the story grabbed me if I was willing to continue to ignore books that have been on my shelves for years for something I had just been made aware of.
This was a page turner. It was interesting and terrifying and had a larger message. But I think my biggest compliment of this book can be found in the physical effect it had on me. The premise of this book is that Speth Jime stops speaking on her 15th birthday to avoid having to pay all of the royalties to the massive corporations that now own all words, gestures, songs, movements. Katsoulis had me so absorbed into the world he created that I found myself not speaking. I would be reading the book and would want to say something to my daughter or husband and would physically stop myself, so entranced in the tale that I felt that I was Speth.
In the end, this book has a really important message that I hope is not overlooked given it's YA categorization. I truly believe that there are Speths out there right now who are only waiting for their moment to fight against corrupt powers and dare I say, make America great again. ;)
In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society. Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford. But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech--rather than say anything at all--she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.