Class Warfare in an Age of Eco-Collapse

By Jordan Polk, Democracy & Me intern

Our September selection is WANT, the 2017 YA sci-fi hit written by Taiwanese-American novelist Cindy Pon. Pon is a critically acclaimed author with several other titles under her belt, four of which preceded the release of WANT. This edge-of-your-seat speculative thriller serves as the first installation to a planned series, and it uses its fascinating dystopia to address environmentalism, corporate corruption, and social justice in a way that is digestible and fun for a young audience.

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The novel takes place in a near-futuristic Taipai City, Taiwan, a society plagued by pollution and inequality. In the story, wealthy individuals are able to afford suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that run rampant in the enclave — in other words, they are able to buy longer lives than lower-class individuals. The protagonist, Jason Zhou, along with his other teenage friends, attempts to take down the monstrous Jin Corporation. While on his quest to save the city, Jason finds himself on equally treacherous paths to self-discovery and, perhaps, love. Can our heroes (and heroines) bring down the dystopic hierarchy without destroying themselves?

Pick up a copy at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, or our own little free library at Elementz, and plan to join our youth-led book chat at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29. You might win a WVXU/D&M swag bag, including a copy of our October book, Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens. In November, we’ll be reading Gord Hill’s 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book, and we’re taking requests for our December book and to begin our 2022 list. Got a radical read to suggest for the group? Comment below!