Hello, hello! It’s currently 12.45AM on this wonderful Thursday and I should really be getting into bed. But not before I’ve posted this review. I believe I’ve procrastinated it enough (ha, tell that to my Under A Million Stars review which is 17 days overdue but I’m kinda lacking the mood).
!! potential spoilers below. read at your own risk !!
(Blank Slate #1)
by Jennifer Bardsley
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publication Date: 17 June 2016
Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet.
Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.
Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.
By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.
Genesis Girl is pretty disappointing and messed up on several levels. I started having problems with this book from just the first chapter so me finishing it is somewhat of a miracle.
In one week I’m graduating from Tabula Rasa. Today was my chance to shine
while I’m interviewed by companies. Only nobody will want me now.
With one flash of his thumb-camera, that jerk destroyed my life.
Blanca has lived at Tabula Rasa her entire life. There, she was raised to be a Vestal, a blank slate, someone with no digital presence. She has never seen a computer or been on the Internet. A day before her graduation, a Virus takes her photo and uploads it to the Internet, ultimately dashing all plans she had for her future. Or so she thought. At the auction, she is purchased by Calum McNeal who wants to use her for her own personal gain.
I always had the inkling that there was something shady about this whole Vestal business right from the start. Whilst I believed the fact that Vestal taught the public that there is a better way to live by valuing the relationships with people in the real world, I never understood how them having no digital footprints makes them a reliable and trustworthy source, thus leading to companies wanting to buy them to promote their products as “the public buys anything [they] sell”. Then comes in the way Blanca and other Vestals put Barbelo Nemo in such high regard. “Barbelo is always right.” And the Vestals have really messed up practises such as making every single Vestal infertile and arranging them into ‘families’. Just how screwed up must this Barbelo dude be to come with up such ideas?
Blanca was a rather bland character but she seemed pretty okay at first. She asked questions, she seemed to argued with Calum, but she still diligently carried out her orders. It wasn’t till Calum’s purpose for purchasing her was fulfilled did we finally see the full outcome of her upbringing at Tabula Rasa. Her need to be ordered around, her subservient nature, she even went into depression when Calum refused to give her any direct orders, instead asking her to make her own choices, something she was not taught to do so at Tabula Rasa. From then on, Blanca embarked on a journey to uncover the truth regarding the corruptive nature of technology and ultimately achieve her own freedom. She then underwent a huge and abrupt change in character.
To my former Vestal Brethren, I say this myself:
I have chosen to free myself from all the lies that were holding me back.
You can too.
You have everything you need to achieve happiness.
Thankfully, we have awesome characters like Calum and Seth that made this whole book bearable and even, entertaining. Though Seth’s attraction towards Blanca felt like instalove which is just #NOPE.
The story was a huge puddle of disappointment. I was hoping that the subject of technology would spur some thought-provoking moments but instead I got conclusions I already knew about. “The Internet can be beneficial, as long as we don’t use it excessively. It has the ability to enhance relationships.” Sounds a whole lot like something I would have written in my General Paper essay.
I actually can’t think of any decent discussion questions for this post so, um, any thoughts about technology? Or my review? Or this book? Or just life in general?