FICTION

The Resisters

Knopf. Feb. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525657217. $26.95. F
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This intriguing departure from Jen (World and Town) tells a dire tale of nonconformity in a world gone mad. Though preternaturally gifted at baseball, specifically pitching, young Gwen is part of the “Surplus,” a mass of disenfranchised people living on the edges of a future society in AutoAmerica—an America that has embraced authoritarian automation, creating a class of haves, the “Netted,” and have-nots, the “Surplus.” The Surplus, deemed unemployable, can’t work but must consume, including free food. Gwen’s mother, Eleanor, has been persecuted by the government as a resister to the draconian laws and is currently suing the state to expose toxic agents in the free food. In this stark context, Gwen grows up playing baseball in secret, but when her talent is discovered, she is recruited by Net U, the university for the privileged. She reluctantly agrees to attend and has her moral and personal resolve severely tested.
VERDICT Though her talent and aplomb win out in a satisfying conclusion, Gwen struggles with the inequality and oppression of AutoAmerica, and readers will be left wondering whether we are living in such a culture today. Highly recommended for discerning readers. [

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