Published: September 1st 2017 by Harlequin Teen
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford. But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth’s unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.
This book was one of my highly anticipated reads for 2017 – the concept is completely unique and it had the potential to be amazing. However, I was completely disappointed with this book and ended up dnfing it.
The beginning of the book started out promising. We are immediately introduced to a world in which almost everything is paid for – words, gestures, fashion etc. We meet Speth, who is about to deliver her first speech (her first paid words) on her 15th birthday. However, after witnessing her friend commit suicide, she decides to go silent instead – which causes chaos within both the system/society and her family. The beginning of the book had me hooked – I had to know about the world that Katsoulis had created and how it came about. However, I feel like, after a while, the book became relatively boring and repetitive, whilst not much was really happening plot wise.
I struggled to relate to the characters and the relationships between the characters because there was no real way that Speth could communicate. Her inner voice moaned a lot about the fact that she couldn’t communicate with anyone and how much she wanted to, but she decided to stay silent. It became repetitive and it affected the way in which Speth reacted and related to the other characters around her.
I also wish that there had been more world building around the way in which the laws came to be. There wasn’t much explanation as to why words became copyrighted and paid for and how society ended up the way it did. It would have helped the story along to know the backstory a little earlier – it took too long for the little information we did receive to come out.
I was extremely disappointed with this book, especially because it was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2017. I did, however, like the concept of this book and the uniqueness of this book. I gave this 2/5 stars.