Swipe by Evan Angler
Recommended For: Ages 10 and Up
Rating: PG (for violence)
Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet it getting the Mark is such a good thing, 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?
I really enjoyed this book. I brought it home from the library with the same feeling of anticipation I had for Among the Hidden, and it did not disappoint. I did read it slower than I should have, but for three very good reasons.
1. I was mourning the end of Dragon Keeper. Still am.
2. I needed to use my time to fulfill my self-imposed writing quota and, since I didn't have much time and couldn't concentrate during the day, it didn't leave time for bedtime reading for several days.
3. My eyes were having focusing issues, partially due to having the wrong prescription in my right eye and also due to actually having issues focusing on close up things when my distance vision is corrected, so I couldn't read in the car like I wanted to because I couldn't see well enough to do it.
So my slowness (a little over two weeks rather than two days) had nothing to do with the story. At all. I loved it and can't wait to continue the story. And now that I'm interested in the series, and my eyes seem to be somewhat better, I think the other books will go much faster.
Swipe was a well-written book. Angler definitely drew me into the story, as evidenced by how, when I had time to read and could see the words, I read large chunks of it at a time. He kept up the suspense, and, though I had suspicions about who the true bad guy was from looking at his website, I couldn't really tell for sure from the story until the end. The constant use of words like "gonna" in dialogue did kind of bug me, but it is how people talk, so it's really just a nitpick on my part. (And, yes, that is the reason I didn't give it 5/5.)
Swipe is set in a future United States where the whole of North America has been united as the American Union (A. U.). There is also a movement toward a global union. It is dystopian, which is one of the reasons my bad guy/good guy suspicions were the way they were, but it's a slow reveal, similar to that of Lois Lowry's The Giver, though there is really no other comparison between the two books, seeing how incredibly different the plot and worldbuilding are. And it seems to give the indication that the revelations of the truth about society are nowhere near over. The culture is well developed, even the difference in Logan and his friend Erin based on him living in basically rural Spokie and her being from huge city Beacon. There is a bit of sci-fi technology, but nothing so far-fetched it is unbelievable.
The plot of Swipe is twisty and complicated, taking many turns along the way. It is full of adventure, suspense, danger, and intrigue. At the beginning, Logan is paranoid that he is being stalked, that he has been since his sister disappeared, as well as being terrified of getting the Mark. Erin, who has already been Marked, is unwillingly traveling to Spokie for her dad's "government work" when she'd really rather stay home in Beacon. These two circumstances, once brought together, send them into dangerous investigations that lead them deep into trouble. And there's the Dust, who are a major part of the story and show it from a different perspective, though without getting rid of any suspense. I really loved the story. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was how Logan deceived his parents. I don't really see any way around it, they would have thought he was crazy if he told them what danger he was really in, and he had to find out why he was being watched and by who, but still. He did get majorly grounded for his actions, so it was not without consequences.
Character Development: 5/5
I loved Logan and Erin. They were both well-developed and grew throughout the story. Erin was a bit cliche, the headstrong, stubborn female lead, but I didn't mind. In fact, as the ending leaves it in doubt whether she will be in future books, I was desperately looking for her name in reviews declaring, my sister with me, that if she is not, we will turn Evan Angler over to DOME. :) Logan was really a paranoid kid at the beginning, but he already had hero elements in him, which Erin helped to bring out. I loved seeing them grow, and greatly enjoyed the time I spent with them. They felt like real people who I only want to get to know more.
Swipe is definitely a book I recommend, the morning after I finished it, I handed it right over to my youngest sister and she finished it that same day. Anyone who likes adventure, dystopian, or just an exciting book will love Swipe.