Proxy by Alex London
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In Proxy, the best kind of entertainment doesn't sacrifice action or thrills to world building or a YA-typical romance plot. It jumps right into the action from the beginning, and keeps it coming.
Characters were real and diverse. Refreshingly free from stereotypes. Friendships between the characters, and even the characters themselves, develop so naturally that it redefines what I've always thought of the genre. YA that reaches beyond--with writing quality and layering that shouldn't be thought of as being among the torrent of other recycled YA stories out there. Amazing character development will have you thinking one thing about the character at the beginning, and something completely different at the end. This happened with such finesse in Proxy, that you can't help but admire how smoothly the author changed the game.
While this book is excellently multi-layered, at times the social commentary and overtones overshadow the plot. Amid all the action and twists, there is a lot of questioning and issues being addressed. The characters are constantly grappling with these huge social constructs, and sometimes it feels a little overwhelming. However, this book has an introspective quality that is rare in Young Adult literature. Self examination and character development usually gets lost in the fast paced action or the romance aspects, but in Proxy it shines gloriously through. Here's some gems that really showcase that quality:
"Sarcasm was the easy expression of an empty mind. It carried no information, nothing he could learn except that Knox was an a--, which he knew already. The knowledge wasn't useful."
"This girl contained that girl. Whoever she was was also whoever she had been. The same was true for him, he guessed. He wondered if anyone really ever changed, or if stuff just piled on and on, covering up, but never erasing all the different parts. How deep would you have to dig to find who you started out as?"
This series-starter has both the entertainment and thought-provoking factors . . . I'm excited to see if the author can keep it up for the rest of the series.