Friday, October 02, 2020

Teen/YA Review: Feed

M.T. Anderson is always good for an engaging sci fi novel, so when I noticed his teen/YA book, Feed, way at the back of my backlog of audios for review (from 2012), I decided to give it a try for #RIPXV Challenge. Better late than never, right? Feed won loads of awards when it was first released and was a finalist for the National Book Award. This thought-provoking, creepy world felt all too real to me, given the way technology is taking over our lives.

At some undetermined time in the future, Titus and his teen friends are on a spring break trip to the moon. Like any spring breakers, their main purpose there is to party and have a wild time, but in a teen club one night, something goes terribly wrong. A criminal hacker manages to hack into their feeds, causing them to malfunction and sending the kids to the hospital. In this world, most people are implanted with feeds as babies or very young children. The electronics are connected directly to their brains and nervous systems, receiving information from them and feeding back a constant barrage of entertainment, communication, and advertising (lots of ads!). People can message each other, connect with friends, or buy things without typing or talking, just by thinking. This is just normal life for Titus and his friends, so their stay in the hospital (first on the moon and then back home on Earth) with the feed completely off while it is being fixed is a unique experience for them. Without the feed, they do what any quarantined teens would do: they talk to each other and joke around and make up silly games to occupy themselves. But Titus met a new friend on the moon named Violet, whose feed was also hacked, and Violet is different. As she explains to him later, her dad is a professor and her family doesn't have much money, so she has been homeschooled and didn't even have a feed until age seven. This makes fixing her feed more complicated. Once they are out of the hospital, Titus and Violet begin dating and get to know each other better. Violet is different from anyone Tutus has ever known before, and she opens up his mind to new thoughts and possibilities, like that perhaps the feed isn't all good and maybe sometimes people should think for themselves.

This was an engrossing and original dystopian story. The author makes it feel more realistic, despite its futuristic setting, by giving the teens their own slang, so that they sound much like today's young people (only different). A friend who teaches and often introduces high school students to this novel said that kids often tell her it's not realistic, but being older and knowing how quickly our world has changed as technology has taken over makes this story feel eerily possible. It was originally published in hardcover in 2002, which makes it even more impressively prescient. The audio is excellent because it includes some passages that mimic the feed, and the noisy barrage of information makes this world feel all the more real. The story focuses in on Titus and Violet and their relationship, with interesting insights into their differing backgrounds that are just as relevant today as in this future world and some frightening consequences of the hack. I was captivated by this original and suspenseful novel about a future that felt all too possible.

299 pages, Candlewick
Listening Library

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible. You'll hear Titus narrating during the trip to the moon and some of the futuristic teen slang.


You can purchase Feed from an independent bookstore, either locally or online, here:


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Or you can order Feed from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. I really liked this one when I read it years ago and our students liked it as well.

    1. Good to hear the teens in the target audience responded to it, too!