The Bar Code Tattoo (Bar Code #1)
by Suzanne Weyn
What is it about:
Individuality vs. Conformity
Identity vs. Access
Freedom vs. Control
The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.
But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run...for her life.
What did I think of it:
I picked this up because I loved Weyn's Distant Waves, and was curious about what other books she had written.
This is a really great read.
I was surprised by how current most of this book still was. It's written in 2004, but the issues it addresses are still in play today. Weyn's views of a future where we all have to get a bar code with all our information on it - information which is collected and monitored by an all powerful corporation - felt very close to home. The characters in this book even parroted what I've heard people say about giving up our privacy 'for the greater good'. "Why shouldn't you if you have nothing to hide?"
So I was really invested in Kayla's attempts to fight back, to stay in control of her own life.
There were some minor grumblings.
The author clearly wasn't up to date with the technology of 2004. She lets people use stationary email addresses throughout the book, while hotmail and other services like that had been around for some years by then. This book being a Dystopian set in the future, made it feel dated because of that.
There's a paranormal element in the story I could have done without. It didn't feel realistic compared to the rest of the story in my opinion.
Those two things aside I very much enjoyed this story, and I finished it in almost one sitting. It's suspenseful and thought provoking. Because of the paranormal element I'm not sure if I will read the other books in this series as well (I suspect it will play a bigger role in the next book), but I will most certainly add this book to my keeper shelves.
Why should you read it:
It's a really cool and suspenseful Dystopian YA read.