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Waste of space
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Cast in a bogus reality show designed to emulate a space mission, 10 teens become subject to the drama and scrutiny of fame before their communication is severed and they are challenged to survive while trapped in a desert warehouse set. By the author of the Croak trilogy. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)

Believing they have been sent into space, ten teenagers, who were cast on a shady reality show, find themselves trapped when communications with the outside world are severed. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that's the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama--and nothing about the fact that the production is fake"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

From the author of Croak comes this raucous account of ten teenagers picked to live on a rocket ship, get shot into space, and have their adventures broadcast live to the entire world. Find out what happens when reality stops being reality, and everything goes inevitably, horribly wrong.
- (Houghton)

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that&;s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama&;and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show.
     And it&;s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

- (Houghton)

Author Biography

Gina Damico is the author of Waste of Space, Wax, Hellhole, and the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She lives in western Massachusetts. www.ginadami.co
- (Houghton)

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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

Science just isn't cool enough for funding anymore. Reality TV has hit a dead zone as well, so there's a compromise to be made: a show that sends teenagers into space. It's all fake, but American viewers—and the kids on board the "spaceship"—don't need to know that. Network CEO Chazz joins forces with NASAW (the National Association for the Study of Astronomy and Weightlessness; NASA declined to participate) to trick the world into thinking 10 teens have been shot into space. America tunes in, ratings skyrocket, and all is going according to plan . . . until it isn't. Chazz isn't pulling the strings he thinks he is, and it won't be long before the jig, which grows steadily more ominous, is up. Told almost entirely through transcripts of phone calls, video recordings, and unaired footage, this is a bitingly satirical look at the world of reality TV in the vein of Libba Bray's Beauty Queens (2011). A sure pick for fans of sci-fi spoofs, black humor, and unusual formats. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reality-TV show Waste of Space sends ten teenagers into space (in actuality, a soundstage in Arizona). The teenagers' belief that their "spaceplane" is real falters as details fail to add up. Zanily paced action humming with punch lines captures the anything-for-hype mindset of reality TV; the friendship between Nico and Titania, two teens with tragic pasts, elevates the story to a higher plane. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

In a satirical narrative patched together from transcripts of audio files, cell phone calls, and video recordings, plus occasional interjections from the nameless intern compiling them, the must-watch events of reality TV show Waste of Space unfold. Wunderkind producer Chazz Young plans to send ten teenagers into space (in actuality, a soundstage in Arizona) to throw ratings-friendly challenges at them amid boffo product placements. The teenagers (reality TV tropes for the most part--a drunken floozy; a rich, selfish villain--plus a few surprises) believe their "spaceplane" is real, though their credulity falters the more details fail to add up. Damico nails the anything-for-hype mindset of reality TV, keeping the action whizzing along at a zany pace and the punch lines humming. What saves the book from being a mindless guilty-pleasure read is the friendship between shy skateboarder Nico ("Token orphan. Bonus points for being ethnic") and haunted Titania, whose motto is "Keep moving, keep exploring." Their midnight Confessional Closet meetings delve into their troubled pasts, and if their emotions are overwrought, so is everything around them. But the tragedies they've suffered, and the bond they form, elevate the story to a higher plane for the wistful surprise ending. anita l. burkam The Incredible Magic of Being Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Ten teenagers are launched into "space" to entertain insatiable TV audiences in Damico's satirical novel.Everything on TV has already been done. Enter Chazz Young, the CEO of DV8 Productions. Chazz cooks up the idea to send 10 teens into space and to film everything. A shaky collaboration with the scientists of the National Association for the Study of Astronomy and Weightlessness and some expensive special effects result in Waste of Space. The teens aren't actually in space, but they and viewers don't know that. The cast checks every reality TV box, from the ambiguously "exotic" party girl to the black, gay diversity pick. As America tunes in, the teenagers overcome unrealistic space obstacles. Ratings go up, but behind the scenes, cast members are beginning to doubt they're in space, Chazz is desperately trying to up the ante, and NASAW is working on a side project. Suddenly, all transmissions from the "ship" are stopped, and access to it is cut off. None of the teenagers ( or Chazz) knows what's going on. All they know is that they're in trouble. Told in aired and unaired video transcripts, phone transcripts, and personal recordings, the information in this novel has been compiled by an unnamed intern-turned-whistleblower. Everything that happens is over-the-top and ludicrous but cleverly crafted, the cynicism slathered on with layers of foulmouthed geniality. Like the TV show it's about, nothing in this novel is as it seems, but the journey to discover the truth is out of this world. (Fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

PW Annex Reviews

In this tongue-in-cheek sendup of reality TV, 10 teens are given the chance to go into space. What they don't know is that none of it is real: the launch, the spaceplane they are living in, and the problems they face are fabricated by the show's sleazy production company. The cast members of Waste of Space range from deadly earnest (Jamarkus) and irredeemably geeky (Louise) to naïve (Snout) and normal (Nico), not to mention "the four Golden Tokens: gay, foreigner, disabled, and orphan." All that, and a pig. As the show progresses and people are voted off the ship, things get out of hand, with tempers fraying, equipment malfunctioning, and inexplicable phenomena suggesting actual extraterrestrial interference. The story unfolds through transcripts, cast confessionals, hidden camera footage, and post-show editing, creating an over-the-top and unpredictable adventure that walks the line between plausibility and absurdity. Damico (Wax) revels in reality show archetypes but throws in a few twists, too. The increasing ambiguity, though, makes it hard to decide how seriously readers should take the conflict and its resolution. Ages 12–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (July)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Waste of Space is the newest reality television show produced by Chazz Young and his shady team at DV8. Put 10 teenagers in a spaceship and blast them off into space to face weekly terrors, from aliens to asteroids to raging hormones. What could go wrong? What the teens don't know is that the entire production is a fake, and what Chazz doesn't know is that the scientists he hired for the show have an agenda all their own. The program becomes a national obsession. However, the scientists pull the plug on everyone, leaving the teens, Chazz, and all of America scrambling to find out what is going on. At times, Damico's latest is a hilarious satire with over-the-top caricatures in over-the-top situations; it's also a sweet YA love story of loss and redemption. The two plotlines make the book feel contrived and too long. All the characters are stereotypical, which fits in perfectly with the reality show concept, but some are completely unbelievable. The format jumps from prose to screenplay to monologue, making the narrative sometimes hard to follow. This is a unique and often engaging tale, however. It may find an audience, but as a whole, it misses the mark. VERDICT Intriguing and at times hilarious, but ultimately muddy and too drawn-out. Purchase where funny YA is lacking.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

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