Synopses & Reviews
Consumption of alcohol: Illegal.
Football and other "violent" sports: Illegal.
Ownership of guns, chain saws, and/or large dogs: Illegal.
Body piercings, tattoos: Illegal.
It's late in the twenty-first century, and the United Safer States of America (USSA) has become a nation obsessed with safety. For Bo Marsten, a teenager who grew up in the USSA, it's all good. He knows the harsh laws were created to protect the people. But when Bo's temper flares out of control and he's sentenced to three years of manual labor, he's not so down with the law anymore.
Bo's forced to live and work in a factory in the Canadian tundra. The warden running the place is totally out of his mind, and cares little for his inmates' safety. Bo will have to decide what's worse: a society that locks people up for road rage, or a prison where the wrong move could make you polar bear food.
"Hautman (Invisible) explores the modernday tension between safety and freedom in this intelligent and darkly comic satire set 70 years in the future. Despite the daily dose of sedative required for all teens in the United Safer States of America, Bo Marsten reacts badly when he sees his girlfriend with his track rival and nemesis. 'The locks and harnesses and chains of self-control snapped, one after another, like Frankenstein's monster breaking loose from his bonds.' In Bo's society, even minor infractions result in prison terms, because their labor 'makes this country run.' Sentenced to work at a pizza factory in the Canadian tundra (the USSA annexed Canada in 2055), Bo finds himself a candidate for the warden's favorite pastime-watching his inmates crush each other's skulls on the gridiron. Football is outlawed, so only outlaws can play (think The Longest Yard with bears). In the meantime, Bork, the A.I. that Bo had been creating in science class, achieves self-awareness and independently tracks Bo down in prison with a plan to spring him-but can Bo survive on the outside? Hautman's vision of a futuristic nation wracked by litigiousness and terrorism is sharply observed-and frightening. Bo's Gramps (born in 1990 when kids could still run without protective safety gear) incisively sums up the book's undercurrent: 'I think the country went to hell the day we decided we'd rather be safe than free.' This thought-provoking and highly entertaining dystopian fantasy is certain to spark discussion among teens. Ages 12-up. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Imagine a future in which it is illegal to insult others or to run without proper protective gear. Bo is a recalcitrant sixteen-year-old who has trouble controlling his emotions. In fact, his whole family has been in and out of work camps, those corporate jails run by the conglomerate descendants of Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and General Motors. Offenders are sent to these factories to prepare food or farm until their sentences are served....Told with a hint of humor, the novel is a fast-paced, fun read with a likeable but rash protagonist, someone with whom male readers could easily relate." VOYA
"In a cutting and comic gem, Bo Marsten is in trouble with the law: He's insulted a classmate, neglected to take his anti-anger medication and gone running without kneepad liners (required to prevent chafing). In 2076, in the United Safer States of America, it's illegal to do anything dangerous....Bitingly funny and unexpectedly heartwarming, Bo's coming-of-age is a winner." Kirkus Reviews
"This odd pairing of satire and sports thriller is carried along by the protagonist's confident narrative voice....The many threads that run through this book may overwhelm some readers, but there is much for them to ponder and the overall effect is fresh." School Library Journal
"Feisty Bo is an admirable hero, and his trials and tribulations as well as the sports action and intriguing future society will keep readers turning the pages. A provocative novel (with some strong language) by the National Book Award-winning author of Godless." KLIATT Review
In this futuristic satire — a New York Times Notable Book of the Year — by a National Book Award winner, a teen is sent to work at a pizza factory in the Canadian tundra after being accused of causing a rash that plagues his school.
About the Author
Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, Invisible, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at PeteHautman.com.