Feed Book Poster Image

Feed

(i)

 

Satire with a nice bite -- for mature teens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will enjoy talking about the author's future vision and comparing it to teen culture today. Teens and parents will want to do some deep thinking about how realistic this world is -- and if we could change it if we wanted to. See our "Families Can Talk About" section for some ideas for getting to the heart of the book's message -- or check out the publisher's guide for ideas about how to delve more deeply into the plot.

Positive messages

This book will get kids thinking about our consumer-driven culture -- and where it might be headed.

Positive role models

Most of the characters are self-centered, pleasure-seeking consumers. But Violet -- a homeschooled girl Titus meets on spring break -- is someone who criticizes the feed and  wants to do her own thinking. In contrast, readers may be surprised that Titus doesn't grow more by the book's conclusion.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

References to "doing it" and a "prong."

Language

Liberally laced with four-letter words. Also, the author has invented his own slang:  "unit" has replaced "dude," a pretty girl is "youch," etc.

Consumerism

Many products and stores mentioned, some real, some made-up. A contest to say positive things about Coke. Of course, the book's message is decidedly anti-consumerism, so it's hard to imagine that teen readers would be enticed by these products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking; computer programs that act like drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the author makes a sometimes heavy-handed statement about our tech-driven consumer culture and where it's leading us: There's lots to think about and discuss. He uses humor and satire to make his points and will certainly get kids thinking about where we might be headed.

What's the story?

Titus is a teenager in a future world in which almost everyone has an implanted computer chip, the feed, which links their brains to the web, with its instant messaging, online ordering, entertainment programming, and a constant barrage of advertising tailored to his or her personal tastes, momentary desires, and current locations. But even if this is your idea of utopia, not everything is rosy: Mysterious lesions are appearing in everyone's skin, hackers can get into your feed, and America isn't getting along so well with the rest of the world. None of this matters much to Titus and his friends until he meets a girl named Violet, who has been homeschooled -- as opposed to going to School(tm) -- and got her feed late. Now she's making Titus uncomfortably aware of what's going on outside his own circle ... and what's going wrong with her malfunctioning feed.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

In this viciously satiric novel, M.T. Anderson has imagined today's trends extended into the future. Among the many pleasures in FEED is the slang the author invents for his characters -- different, but understandable, with obvious connections to present-day teen-speak. "Like" has, alas, remained, but "unit" has replaced "dude," a pretty girl is "youch" (if she's really pretty, she's "meg youch"), and so on.

Like many authors of this type of novel, Anderson trowels his point on a bit thickly at the end. But, then, no one ever accused Huxley or Orwell of being subtle, either. And in the meantime, it's a fun ride that will get teens thinking. The satire has a nice bite, and it's all just a bit too plausible for comfort.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how corporations and the media influence us. Do you think that we allow ourselves to be marketed to too much? What can we do to fight it?

  • What other media have you see/read/played that deals with the future? Are the stories always dark like this one? Why is it important to read books set in the future?

Book details

Author:M.T. Anderson
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:September 23, 2002
Number of pages:236
Publisher's recommended age(s):14

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 22, 2011

Unquie Writing style

If your complaining about the writing and the use of "like", then you have missed the point of the book. Its written from a teenage perspective. Name a teenagers journal that is thought provoking and well written. You can't can you. the story good, interesting concept, well executed. It has a bitter sweet ending the way I like it. The writing gets better toward the end of the book to symbolize the characters changing to a thoughtful human. And the laugage is hash but remember they're teenagers, I use the f word too, so I'm fine reading it.
Parent of a 12 year old Written bySpacecreep April 5, 2010
Parent of a 15 year old Written byIma_Sillywabbit August 11, 2009

If you don't like it - you're too close or too far away from the subject.

Loved the book. Teens who don't like it either relate too much or too little to the subject matter. Using words in new ways - they do it all the time; no need to sugar coat the truth unless that isn't kewl. The author turned a short story into a novel about the dangers of 1. the internet 2. traveling to other planets without parents 3. being hacked by the resistance 4. the dangers of conformity 5. marketing and advertising danger 6. ultimately Capitalism, if left unchecked, will some day lead to a scenario similar to this. Parents need to teach kids moderation and appreciation.
What other families should know
Too much swearing

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