by Alex London
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
“I believe you, Knox…And I don’t care. Got it? I believe you’re sorry. I. Don’t. care. I don’t want your sorry. Live with your guilt. it’s the one debt you owe me and I don’t ever, ever want it repaid.” – Syd
(one of my favorite quotes from the book)
Proxy by Alex London is the type of book a Political Science major (concentrating in political theory & American politics), like myself, dreams of. It had everything I study in my classes, on my own, etc…combined (aka Proxy should be course reading). I mean I love “insert classic dystopian novel” but if ALL schools want to keep the interest of their peers (if we choose not to believe public schools aren’t just preparing students for vocational work *cough, cough, Proxy) we need to be willing to teach what kids want to read. The only difference between Proxy and those classics (which I do love) is those books are much older, not the themes, the book (sorry, AP English).
I’ve been reading dystopian novels since before they were considered dystopian or at least by the YA crew and I can honestly say PROXY is what a dystopian novel should be. Maybe should be is the wrong word, a dystopian novel should make you think. Okay, sure the action was great, characterization fabulous (more on that later), but the depths of the book, OMG!! Part of me wants to make this review a collection of quotes from the book but, since that would be at least one per page, I’ll spare you. Aside from On Writing by Stephen King (& everything my dad says) I have never found myself nodding my head as much as I did while reading Proxy.
The thing I love about dystopians is they make you think and raise critical societal issues without you even realizing it. If more people read & discussed books like Proxy, we might just have a chance at stopping the deterioration of our society. The book was scary, scary in the way I could easily see our society becoming like the world of Proxy. Yes, with most dystopian books I can see parts of our society but sometimes their so far flung, so hingent on military control that I’m like nah…if anything we’d be controlled by big businesses, we wouldn’t need a militant government…our dependency on credit, borrowing, and so forth would create a society like Proxy where those of us not at the top would become no more than slaves to corporations.
On a lighter note, I want to praise and at the same time beat the author. Not because he wrote a bad book but because of how it ended. On one hand I was thrilled (for spoilerish reasons) and on the other I was furious, I hated that character, I was supposed to hate him, but I was crying (or rather sitting in an airport trying to bite back my tears).
Oh and the twists…LOL, kinda saw it coming, but let me just say, character who shall not be named was characterized perfectly (you’ll know who if you read the book (so go get it)). For you/us Vampire Diaries fans the character reminds me of Stefan, meaning the character harbors guilt enough to drown the world. Part of the reason the book was so good was that it was relatable. I’m definitely not Knox, but I went to school with people like him (oil money + Texas + private school…nuff said). Now, being at the college I’m at, I continue to meet so many people like the character I’m not naming who want to save the world because they feel as if it’s their duty because of the life they’ve been given. I prefer the Knox(es) of the world, they know they have privilege and they full accept that and feel that’s their luck of the draw/way things are supposed to be. People like the other character, they just get on your nerves but that’s why the book was so good…it was honest. Stephen King would be proud.
Finally…did I mention, Syd is gay. Oh yeah, a gay character for whom his gayness isn’t what the book is about…thank you Baby Jesus (also there were mad references from Biblical to modern woven through the story). However, though it isn’t the main thing it does provide for some great comedic relief in that Knox, being Knox has some really funny scenes where he tries to win Syd over by hitting on him. I was dying…in my dorm, at 1 AM cracking up so loud I’m sure my neighbors probably want to strangle me. Honestly though, to have a character I can connect with in so many ways who is one of the protagonists of the story, being all reluctant superhero-y was a dream come true…thank you Alex London.
I think I’m going to pass this book down to my younger brother, now that will be the real test of how good this book is. I mean, I love action but as you can tell I like to theorize…my brother on the other hand, well, he’s a 14 going on 15 year old boy who is very much a video gaming nerd who I’ve only seen read Rick Riordan (yeah, he turned down HP & Artemis Fowl, broke my heart) so we shall see.
Update (as of 7:54 PM EST, 7/9/13): I keep saying lux (Proxy slang)…next I’ll be telling people they’re glitched.
Update (as of July 11th): Ze Brother has ze book. J’espère qu’il aime le livre.
Update (as of 8/17): He likes it 😉 Yeah, who’s the coolest sister now. (obvi me, haha)