Author: Megan Lynch
It’s been a while, blogosphere, but I am back (I know you missed me) and hoping I’ve got my life in something more resembling order so I can start posting regularly again. That being said, I promise nothing. Though I have read some interesting books in the past 11 months, I have to start with this one. It was too interesting a story to pass up writing a review.
Recently, I read Unregistered by Megan Lynch and Mrs. Lynch, if you are reading this, I have three words for you: I. WANT. MORE. Let me be upfront and say the second book in the series (Unafraid) is out now, but I have not yet read it. So it might be some of my questions and wants are revealed in the second book, but this review is only for Unregistered.
Unregistered is a dystopian tale of four young people living in a society which monitors the crap out of its citizens. The character we meet first, Bristol, is unregistered. Unwanted by everyone except his family, society as it exists is mostly off-limits to him. His sister Denver wants to live her life, but, because of her unregistered brother, suffers from a lowered “citizenship” score. Samara, a teacher, goes to a boy’s prison to teach the inmates and experiences…crazy things. Just. Cray. Jude, my precious Jude, is, get this, “low performing” and imprisoned because of it.
There is so much happening in this book to be as short as it is. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. Something happened or was revealed on every page and at so many points in this story I said to myself I wanted to know more. More about the government and how this system came to be. Especially why certain Tiers are permitted to eat certain food while others are not (I am going to harp about the food. Come on. Don’t take away my cheese!). More time spent with each of the four main characters (shout out to my favorite brave kid, Jude!). More about these crazy watches all registered citizens have. Why? How did they come to be? I found each of these so fascinating with the way Mrs. Lynch layered relevant social and political commentary throughout the story. She is insanely clever the way in which she created a society that feels like we are on the precipice of becoming. The way everyone is addicted to their watches the way our society is completely obsessed about being connected is a smart observation and commentary of current societal norms.
Everything about this society is monitored by the government from population control to what each class system (Tiers) are permitted to eat (this really annoyed me, can you tell?) and what jobs each are allowed. The government (Metrics) dictates who you marry and mostly pair individuals who will produce a more uniform race (their idea of eliminating racism). Metrics monitors you and decides if you are going to be a threat to it, or the society it has created, and fabricates a way to lock you in prison without actually committing a crime (Jude! My precious, innocent Jude) if it deems you such.
All of these things sparked OUTRAGE. BURNING FIRE IN MY HEART. Those of you who know me understand I don’t take orders well, if at all. The idea of being told what to do, eat, wear, live and who to marry and share my body with is absolutely outrageous to me. The idea of incarcerating someone merely because they do not fit into your idea of socially acceptable is abominable.
I loathe the enormous authority the government has over these citizens. It horrified me that these individuals and this society in general were blindly embracing a caste system including who you marry and create life with which is such an incredibly intimate thing. It isn’t just that you must marry within your Tier. You must essentially tell the government you want to marry and they assign a person to you. You have no control and no say over who the person is.
My outrage probably stems from two things: 1. I have a serious problem with authority. The idea of being told what/how to do everything in my life, including who I marry and create a child with is abhorrent to me. I do realize this is how marriage was generally conducted up until this last century with your father or male guardian choosing and negotiating your marriage to the man of their choosing. Doesn’t make it OK or mean I would go along with it. 2. I believe wholeheartedly in democracy and the will of the people. You can make the argument that the government acts in the best interests of their people (I am NOT getting into politics with you), but the government as portrayed in this book struck me as similar to the one in The Handmaid’s Tale which I found more abhorrent than in Unregistered. In fact, there were other vague similarities to the Margaret Atwood novel (shameless self-plug for my review of The Handmaid’s Tale) which I found both smart and observant.
The plots for Bristol, Denver, Samara and my boy Jude, eventually all intersect through some cool and interesting storytelling which will leave you grasping for the second book (so make sure you have it nearby). I know I am dying to get my hands on it and now I’ve written this review, guess what I am going to pick up?
What did you think of Unregistered? Tell me in the comments!
If you liked Unregistered, try: