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February 11, 2013

Review: Flash Point by Nancy Kress

Flash Point
Title: Flash Point 
Author: Nancy Kress
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication date: November 8, 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult (Dystopian/Sci Fi)
Source: Publisher
Format: Physical ARC
Pages: 400
Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America—and the fame game is on!

Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby—You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life—on and off camera.
Oh wow, Flash Point was not what I expected. I tend to always check goodreads and read a couple of non spoiler reviews of books I am starting right now and what I found was that there barely was any reviews. However, what convinced me was the review written by Gabby from Chapter by Chapter (Review here). So while I was excited from reading Gabby's review, I was also a bit wary from the lack of reviews as well as the review copy being around 500 pages long. Even with that, I really liked the idea of the book and it being a reality tv show, Who Knows People, Baby—You?, gone horribly wrong during a time of the greatest economic depression. Writing this review, I can say that Flash Point wasn't just entertaining, but it was full of twists, shocking turns, and a great mix of dystopian and contemporary.
Amy, the main protagonist, is 16 years old and lives in a time after a disastrous economic and financial collapse that resulted in her scientist grandmother to lose her job, her life savings, and their house. Amy's parents are both dead so she lives, along with her 15 year old sister Kaylie, at a shabby sorry excuse of an apartment with her grandmother. From the beginning of the novel you instantly hate Kaylie. Kaylie is the ungrateful little sister that not only refuses to help out but also gets in tons of serious trouble that Amy ends up cleaning up after. I felt sorry for Amy, but at the same time I would have went ballistic on her, but Amy always made up excuses for her behavior. To put it bluntly, Kaylie was a jealous little kid that always resented Amy even though Amy was the person who brought in an income that kept them afloat, even if barely.
Moving on to the reality tv aspect of this book. Amy gets picked out of thousands of people for this show where she, and 6 other people, are put in scenarios that are all based on holograms (yes, this is set in the future), and then people vote by predicting what each contestant will behave or react, based on 5 choices given to the voters. At the beginning, the scenarios were pretty harmless but soon enough they began to spiral and turn more realistic and dangerous. This is when Amy starts to doubt her place in the show but because of her sick grandmother and the full medical insurance the TLN station provides, Amy has no other choice but to bear with it. I really appreciated how Amy was selfless and did everything she could for her grandmother and ungrateful sister. Some of those scenarios were dangerous but she stuck through with it. I really felt total sympathy towards her and admired her courage. 
There is one thing that Kress introduced to the novel but barely explored and it is the phantoms that Amy experienced that showed the true intentions behind a person's actions. I still don't get the real reason behind them or their place in the novel. Also, Kress barely gave any mention to when Amy's grandmother died and based on how much Amy did for and how much she loved her grandmother, it was very anti-climatic. The same could be said for the ending, but that could be overlooked.  
As for the other characters and contestants in this novel, I loved that each one was pegged off as something but at the end of the novel, you really get to find out who they really are. Some totally contradicted your initial judgement such as Cai, while others were exactly as you thought, like Kaylie. The Antagonist, the producer of TLN, definitely got what she deserved by the end of the novel and I loved that everything wrapped up nicely without any dramatics and rushed conclusions. Honestly, with this long review, I barely delved into all that I wanted to discuss, showing you guys how this novel had so much going on but at the same time everything was linked and tied in together. However I have to point out that there is a ton of swearing so this novel would be better suited for mature YA readers. Therefore, I definitely recommend this novel to fans of books similar to The Selection and lauren Conrad's L. A. Candy but with less romance. This is not like The Hunger Games in any way, contrary to what people think. I can't wait to read more books by Nancy Kress in the future!

18 comments:

  1. Wow this book sounds amazing Juhina, I think I end up enjoying books a lot more that I don't know a lot about before I pick them up. Flash Point seems to nicely mix up dystopian and contemporary, something which I haven't seen work well for sometime. But I think I must definitely give this a go especially with it's fantastic pace and action! Brilliant review Juhina, thanks for putting this on my radar!

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  2. This is the first review I've read for this book! Somehow I overlooked this completely, but I guess it hasn't been getting as much exposure as other books, as you mentioned. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. I love the premise and will definitely be adding it to my pile soon. Thanks for the review! :)

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  3. Yay! So glad you enjoyed it!! There really aren't enough reviews out for this book an it really is quite awesome!! Thank u for the mention!! Absolutely loved your review!

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  4. I have never heard of this book before but it sounds pretty interesting :) I love the reality tv aspect of it, which makes me want to see what it's about. Awesome review Juhina!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  5. I wonder how this book managed to get looked over, I haven't seen or heard a single thing about it! I like the idea of it and Amy sounds like a great protagonist. I'll be adding this one to my TBR thanks to you! =)

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  6. Flash Point sounds wonderful! I probably would have passed on this one if I'd just seen the goodreads page; this is the first I've heard of it though. I'm glad you gave it a try!
    I was happy to read your thoughts on the resolution and ending. I've been reading a lot of series lately and am getting tired of cliffhangers. I need a good stand alone novel. I'll have to add this book to my wishlist :)

    Great review!

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  7. This book sounds very interesting! I love the sound of the characters and the whole idea of the storyline. I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR list! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the awesome review! :)

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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  8. Love the way you described the book. I like unexpected surprises. Nice review.

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  9. Wow, this book sounds absolutely incredible! I will definitely be picking it up soon!

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  10. Sounds like a great read! The plot is quite unique. The fact that it's not like The Hunger Games made me more curious. Thanks for the review.

    -Dannielle

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  11. Oh I'm watching a TV show called Flash Point but of course it has nothing to do with this book. Anyway this book is new for me and I'm glad that you enjoyed it :) Sounds like a promising read. Great review :)

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  12. That sounds creepily good! awesome review! I'm following back. :)

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  13. The premise of this sounds really unique, and I'm glad to hear that it's not just another dystopian following the mold of The Hunger Games. Lately I've been really picky about the dystopian novels that I choose to read, but I think I might give this one a try. Great review!

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  14. I love the idea behind this book, but I've seen so many mixed/negative reviews that I have hesitated to pick it up. But wow, what a great review! I may have to give this one a chance since you enjoyed it so much. I especially like that some of the characters manage to surprise you in the end. We all read so much YA that a lot of times you can tell exactly what's going to happen right from the very beginning, but it's good to hear this one keeps you guessing. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  15. Wow, this sounds like such an original premise, and I never heard of this before. I love romance, so the only negative for me is that it doesn't seem to contain much. Lovely review Juhina. :)

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  16. I've never heard of this one before! And while I'm really curious to read it and see the why it got the high rating, I'm kind of put off at the unexplained bits you brought up (the grandma dies?!)

    Still on the fence, but great review Juhina!

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  17. When I read the description I immediately thought 'The Hunger Games' but at the end you've said it's not like that at all. I've never heard of this but it sounds really good so I shall add it to my TBR list haha.

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  18. Wow this book sounds amazing!! I will definitely be adding it to my TBR!

    Thanks for stopping by WinterHaven! :) (new follower)
    arlene...
    winterhaven books

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