Want by Cindy Pon
Published by Simon Pulse on June 13, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 380 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.
Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
If you’re in the market for a fast paced, diverse mix of scifi and dystopia then Cindy Pon has written the book for you. There’s wonderful worldbuilding, a focus on climate change/economic inequality, and an intriguing cast of characters. At its core though, Want is an action packed uprising set in a futuristic Taipei following Jason Zhou and his friends as they try to change the status quo.
Pollution has ravaged the world, leading to shorter life expectancy, rampant illness, and a sky no longer blue while the population is defined in two different ways: the yous who are wealthy and can afford suits to protect from the harsh environment and the meis who suffer ill health and death from the toxic climate as they cannot afford suits let alone basic treatment.
Despite the destruction of the natural ecosystems, there is now vibrant technology at every turn with neon billboards, hover cars, and extensive filtration systems. Pon paints a vivid picture and still excels at juxtaposing these two extremes which fuels the narrative. She also manages to tackle corruption and not come off preachy. Honestly in the current political climate, Want is a breath of fresh air.
The best part though was these characters. Jason Zhou, Lingyi, Iris, Victor, and Arun band together and have this beautiful found family thing going on. Each of them offer distinct diversity and gradually become fleshed out. Zhou shines though as he inevitably goes undercover and has to face his conflicting feelings for Daiyu while the rest work from the outside. Daiyu even was a surprise but I think she’s worth discovering for yourself.
Overall Cindy Pon’s Want is an exciting novel full of futuristic reality that cannot be unseen. With a diverse world and gripping narrative, there’s something for everyone, and I couldn’t help but be immersed in this depiction of Taipei. Even the characters stood out with Jason Zhou leading the way. I’ll absolutely be recommending this to everyone I know and will be looking forward to the next installment!
Are you interested in reading Want? Intrigued by climate change being tackled in this story?
Let me know in the comments below!