Thursday, July 9, 2015

ARC Review: Behind The Fun Zone

Title: The Age of Amy: Behind The Fun Zone
Author: Bruce Edwards
Publisher: Lambert Hill
Publication Date: August 1st 2015
Pages: 216
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Are you a JIMMIEHEAD, or are you still using one of those old-fashioned smartphones?

A Jimmie is a tiny microchip, that when painlessly implanted into your brain, magically transforms your eyes and ears into the ultimate hands-free device. No more fumbling with fragile phones, loose earbuds, or clumsy controllers. Watch movies without looking at a screen. Shoot video through your eyes. Text with your brain waves. It tracks your location, monitors your health, and even comforts you when you’re lonely. Plus, it drives your car!

Every teenager wants a Jimmie, except 16-year-old Amy, who detests technology in any form. She is particularly disgusted by how easily people are manipulated into wanting one.

Like smartphones, Jimmies spy on your cyber activities, but being hard-wired to your brain, the device can also access your personality. It intercepts your innermost thoughts and eavesdrops on your deepest feelings. What users fail to consider is that the wireless device doesn't only transmit, but receives—allowing it to control everything its host sees, hears, and feels. Regardless, the hi-tech gizmo becomes a worldwide sensation.

But when thousands of teenage Jimmieheads mysteriously vanish, foul play is suspected by the billion-dollar corporation that manufactures the device. Immune to Jimmie's influence, Amy embarks on a quest to find the missing teens. Her search ultimately reveals a connection between the bizarre disappearances and the Fun Zone—a spooky, old amusement park that's been dark for 50 years.-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I absolutely loved Channel '63, and when I read the synopsis for Behind the Fun Zone, I had high hopes that it was going to turn out as cool as it sounded.

The concept is fresh and different. I love the term "Jimmies" for the little microchips. It has a lot of mystery to the storyline, which I liked because who doesn't love some suspense and shocking twists?

There was quite a big surprise towards the middle. I won't say what it is, so as not to spoil you, but I must say that Amy never ceases to astound me at just how brave/stupid she is. Amy is still a great protagonist, though, for the particular style and creativity of this series. She fits the part well, in my opinion. And though she is flawed, you can't help but root for her rebellious streak.

While I did like the things I previously mentioned, I was pretty disappointed with the book overall. It was slow starting off, and while the imagination that went into this book was well intentioned, I think that some parts were a bit too imaginative. It kind of made the story feel cram-packed.

One of the biggest plot twists I saw coming from a mile away, which was frustrating for obvious reasons. I like to be caught off guard by those moments, but just because I figured out the twist, that doesn't mean everyone else will too.

I did love the dorky charm that Zac brought to the story. But I LOATHED Amy's boyfriend. Which brings me to a problem I had with the characters: why wasn't her friend from the previous book brought over into this one? I thought he was WAY better as a love interest, and had a lot more potential for a strong relationship. But anyway, *takes calming breath* don't let my preference in guys stop you from picking up this book if you've enjoyed the others.

I'm giving it 3 stars because it was somewhat underwhelming in the wake of Channel '63. But I would still recommend it for any Age of Amy fan.

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