Review Blog

Feb 24 2009

Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN 978074759330
Teen, Inc. by Stefan Petrucha is saved from being glib by the inclusion of a range of likeable yet sardonic adolescents balancing accountably predictable adults.
After NECorp was responsible for the death of his parents, Jaiden Beale was raised by the monolithic corporation. His 'home' was a thinly disguised office building, complete with security guards, presentation rooms, LED screens and an artificial lake. But as teenaged Jaiden becomes more interested in friends than MySpace screens, he finds this constant supervision untenable.
Teen, Inc. abounds with American teenage corporate symbols (or product placement) and at times this book reads like a movie script. With a head resounding with 'cutthroat corporate strategy guides' and lawyers who ask his friends to sign responsibility waivers, Jaiden explodes. In a fast paced series of events, he becomes aware of the inevitable conspiracy, but the depth of his relationship with his former captors, especially the dependable pseudo-Mom, Nancy, and steadfast Ben, the short-order cook, results in a well rounded tale that will possibly be a film, one day. Ted Bungrin provides an admirable evil antagonist. And the bumbling CEO (Desmond Hammond 111) will probably be played by Robin Williams.
Parts of this book allude to ideas beyond my comprehension. I would like to meet a male 'ninth grader' who has read Brave New World yet alone one who understood the politics in 1984. But today's youth are well aware of electronic monitoring bracelets, that cell phones can be used as tracking devices and adolescents can be bribed with R-rated DVDs. This book won't be chosen as a class text, but will be popular.
Pauline Crawford

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