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2017
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In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted and individuals are charged for speech, Speth Jime chooses to never speak again, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps and sparking a revolution. - (Baker & Taylor)

Preparing to deliver her Last Day speech to celebrate her new adulthood in a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, a 15-year-old girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, a decision that threatens to unravel the fabric of society. - (Baker & Taylor)

Preparing to deliver her Last Day speech to celebrate her new adulthood in a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, a 15-year-old girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, a decision that threatens to unravel the fabric of society. Simultaneous eBook. 60,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

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. - (Harlequin)

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Booklist Reviews

Speth is about to deliver her Last Day speech, signifying her becoming a paying adult, who's charged for every word she speaks and for most of her gestures and sounds. But when a friend commits suicide in front of her to escape his family's debt, Speth fights back by saying nothing at all. Even she is surprised, however, when her rebellion begins to inspire others . . . and to disturb the government. In his debut novel, Katsoulis finds intriguing new ideas to explore in the dystopian genre. Speth is a reluctant heroine and very worried when her defiance begins to adversely affect those around her. The world in which she lives is convincingly built and even the legalese elements of the story don't bog it down too much. Speth's induction into a strange career field does throw off the pace, but the unique characters with whom she interacts make up for that slowdown. By the end of this first book, readers will be thinking about every word they speak, knowing, as Speth does, that "words matter." Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

The dystopic world Speth grew up in requires people to pay Rights Holders for every spoken word or gesture after they turn fifteen. Speth's refusal to ever speak again unexpectedly positions her as the silent force behind a rebellion. Despite its two-dimensional antagonists, dire threats and the increasingly painful consequences of Speth's complex moral dilemma propel readers through the narrative. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A nightmarish future is imagined in this science-fiction offering from a debut author. A stratified quagmire has evolved since the ideals of free speech began to be subsumed by a legal stranglehold requiring that each person be fitted with an electronic arm cuff that literally charges them for each word they speak. As the novel opens, impoverished Speth Jime is in preparation for her 15th birthday celebration, when she must sign the Terms of Service and give a speech that marks her induction into this heavily litigated system. Then the unexpected actions of a friend spur her to impulsively decide to cease speaking, setting off a course of events marked by both hope and tragedy. Of Latino descent (Jimenez was shortened to Jime in a previous generation), Speth is a reluctant and vulnerable hero. Readers will easily identify with her underdog struggle against the powers that be, even as they may become bogged down at times with the dizzying complexities of the repressive society in which she lives. Fast-paced action sequences provide a welcome balance to her anxious, often self-doubting inner monologues, and the flashes of a freer history that she glimpses throughout are effectively chilling. A fresh and detailed dystopian tale that will capture and make demands upon the attention of its readers, as the genre should, with a conclusion that sets readers up for the sequel. (Science fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

PW Annex Reviews

In this intense if somewhat formulaic dystopian debut novel, a young woman uses silence to protest a culture in which free speech has been eradicated and every word, gesture, and method of communication has been patented, copyrighted, or trademarked. Upon turning 15, Speth Jime is supposed to read a speech that will bind her to a corporate sponsor, after which she'll be financially liable for anything she says or does. (Just saying "It's beautiful" costs Speth's older sister more than $10.) Instead, she refuses to speak, accidentally setting off a cultural firestorm and a low-level rebellion among her peers. Now excluded from almost everything society has to offer, she takes a secret job as a nocturnal product Placer, which provides her with access to the city's most secure and exclusive locations and gives her a chance to strike back at the lawyers who maintain a stranglehold on communication. Although Katsoulis pushes his premise to the breaking point with its focus on how everything from common words to a simple shrug or kiss can be controlled and monetized, it's still a provocative setup. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lisa Rodgers, JABberwocky Literary. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—In this inventive dystopian sci-fi debut, when people turn 15, they must begin paying for the words they speak or write and for the gestures they use to communicate. Every word is trademarked, restricted, or copyrighted, and some words cost more than others, leading many to go into debt. Those 15 or older must wear an irremovable Cuff that records everything they say and do and pays the Rights Holders. Speth is about to give her 15th birthday speech as a rite of passage when her boyfriend commits suicide in front of her rather than pay off his family's huge debt. This compels the teen to rebel against society's rules by becoming silent, which means no money for the corporation that's making billions from people's speech. Her seditious act incites a media frenzy and sparks a movement called the Silents. It threatens to disrupt the system, but the cost for Speth and her siblings Saretha and Sam is very high. Speth is a sympathetic character for whom readers will root, but her experiences are often unrelentingly grim. Since she narrates the book and doesn't speak aloud to others, readers may feel distanced from the other characters. The ending is a bit anticlimactic given the exciting events that preceded it. VERDICT Between the clever premise and the protagonist's stand against a repressive society, Katsoulis's work is timely and will appeal to fans of Dan Wells's Bluescreen, M.T. Anderson's Feed, Cecelia Ahern's Flawed, or Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies." Purchase where sci-fi and dystopian tales are popular.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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