Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Source: ARC via NetGalley
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.
Alrighty, before I set my stun gun to 'death ray', let me start things off by discussing Glitch's less infuriating flaws & misdemeanors.
First of all, the writing was rather mediocre with a lot of repetition and juvenile, clichéd, cheesy dialogue. Can't say too much about the plot either since it basically consisted of the same predictable situations and melodramatic character interactions replayed over & over again.
Secondly, there were quite a few inconsistencies in the storytelling. Zoe would randomly & effortlessly jump back and forth between using ‘regular’ language and the technical, highly intellectual vocabulary she grew up speaking as a member of the hive-like Link. Additionally, she would randomly not know the meaning of certain emotionally expressive words while knowing & using others naturally. I had the same problem with Zoe's understanding of emotions. She was able to recognize & understand someone being livid & frustrated (for example), but she would all of a sudden be unable to identify & comprehend emotions like embarrassment & hate. The characters' superhuman abilities were also inconsistent. They would work amazingly well in one scene and then fail to work accurately or at all whenever the story called for it. Consequently, these powers would seem more like plot devices than organic extensions of the characters.
Speaking of the characters, they were all significantly underdeveloped & forgettable with one note personalities and no depth whatsoever. Zoe, in particular, annoyed the bloody hell out of me. She constantly whined about feeling alone and constantly panicked about EVERYTHING. Furthermore, whenever she wasn't teetering on the edge of paranoid hysteria, she was on the verge of bursting into tears. Oh, and if that wasn't enough to make the readers want to slit their own wrists, Zoe also frequently indulged in overdramatic bouts of self-loathing & angst.
And that segues me into my biggest issue with Glitch: The romance. Not only did it dominate the story and stimulate my gag reflex, but it also really disturbed & enraged me. As to be expected, the romance was of the supersonic insta-love variety and involved a shallow, hokey love triangle. Unfortunately, the book decided to go the extra mile and make the romance suck even more by throwing in an unhealthy, abusive, and emotionally manipulative relationship into the mix AND by making the heroine tolerate, excuse, ignore, and forgive it. Listen, I hate to turn this review into another lengthy rant, but this shit seriously needs to get addressed. So, let’s examine the following scenes, shall we:
(FYI, there be spoilers, yo. You've been warned)
Scene #1 – Max presses himself up against Zoe and then proceeds to paw at her ass. This makes Zoe thoroughly uncomfortable, and she feels no desire to reciprocate his sexual advances. Yet, she doesn’t speak up for herself and decides to merely sidestep the situation by changing the subject. When he tries to press the issue, she responds with a "maybe later" because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings.
Okay, when someone invades your personal space and starts groping you without invitation, the appropriate response is to tell them to back off and to make it clear to them that you are not okay with that kind of behavior. Moreover, if you’re not interested in that person the way they’re obviously interested in you, you should tell them so instead of giving them a vague response that sends them mixed signals with an underlying message that all they have to do is keep pressuring you until they wear you down and you eventually give in to what they want.
Scene #2 – Max persuades Zoe into giving kissing a try. He roughly kisses her, which she describes as being very awkward. She also clearly doesn't seem to be enjoying it, but she decides against pulling away because she doesn't want to "dampen his excitement."
Hmm, apparently her feelings don’t count, and in her mind it’s perfectly okay to be used for someone else’s benefit. Well, frak that.
Scene #3 – Max goes off on a raving monologue about how (literally) crazy he is about Zoe, saying things like "You're everything to me,” “You're all that matters, all I think about," "I just want you for myself," and “You were supposed to be mine,” but Zoe excuses it because it gives her "a flush of happiness to be wanted."
Um, when someone basically admits to being obsessed with you and talks about you as if you were a possession, you shouldn’t be flattered. You should be creeped out…and insulted. But mostly creeped out. And you should get the hell away from that individual as fast and as far as possible.
Scene #4 – Max flies into a jealous rage, punches a wall, and yells at Zoe. The second she calls him out on his assholish behavior, he decides to smooth things over by pulling her into a hug. Instead of firmly standing her ground, she once again completely forgives & forgets because "he could be so kind when he wanted to be."
Note to Zoe: An asshole who is nice one out of ten times is still an asshole. Simple math.
Scene #5 – After finally growing a spine and telling Max that she only loves him as a friend and that her heart belongs to Adrien, Max berates her for hurting his feelings. The next day, he takes it a step further by manhandling her, which Zoe describes & justifies thusly: “He was rougher with me than usual. Harder and colder than he had ever been before last night. But I deserved it.”
Oh Hell to the No! Seriously?! Ugh! I can’t even...
Look, let’s get something straight. No one deserves to be abused and treated like dirt by someone they love. Period.
I'm done. Over and out.