Middle Grade Book Review: Swipe by Evan Angler

swipe_evanangler_thomasnelsondotcomLogan Langly is about to turn thirteen, an important age in this dystopian future. At thirteen, he is eligible to Pledge and receive “the Mark” that enables him to shop at a store, have a job, visit a doctor, and be a citizen. But Logan is afraid. His sister never returned from the Center on her thirteenth birthday and now he thinks someone is watching him.

Swipe is a solid piece of middle grade dystopian fiction. After the States War, the charismatic leader of the American Union unites North America with Europe in a Global Union.  Taking the Mark is a show of Unity, patriotism. Not to take it leaves you as one of the Markless, a veritable outlaw who must fear the agents of DOME (Department of Marked Emergencies).

One of the aspects of this novel that I appreciated was the inclusion of multiple perspectives. The story does not focus solely on Logan as he nervously approaches his Pledge day. We also learn about Erin Arbitor, new girl at school and Logan’s insta-crush, as she discovers that her father is not just a simple government employee but an agent of DOME. And then there are the Markless, specifically a group of young teenagers who call themselves the Dust.

Erin is convinced that Logan is the newest target of Peck, the leader of the Dust, and the target of the investigation that brought her and her father to Spokie. If she can catch Peck, she is sure that she and her father will then return to Beacon, the capital city. As Logan and Erin venture into Markless territory, the pace of the story increases as they hunt and are hunted by the Dust.

Another aspect I appreciated was the use of nanotechnology. The application of nanotechnology was interestingly done, but sparingly described at a level that should keep readers unfamiliar with it from losing focus on the story.

Oh, and the love triangles, I can’t not mention the love triangles. When they first started cropping up, with Logan’s long time best friends Hailey and Dane, I wanted to reject them as I consider twelve to be a bit young for such things. But then I started to think back to my junior high days in the late seventies and I set aside my adult notions to accept that this was pretty accurate for the age. And that Logan would be pretty clueless about his involvement in them was also quite believable.

Those familiar with Christian theology will recognize the charismatic leader, Global Union and the Mark as being from the book of Revelations. While this is a Christian novel, it sits firmly in the dystopian genre and the inclusion of Christian faith is subtle. This may grow more obvious in the rest of the series, as Logan learns more about the Mark and the Markless.

4/5 stars. Recommended for readers thirteen and up who enjoy a suspenseful dystopian story set in a very plausible future. A good start to what should be an interesting series.  Some troubling acts of violence are included but the language is clean.  I am looking forward to continuing Evan Angler’s The Swipe Series with Sneak, Storm and Spark , and to sharing them with my thirteen year old nephew.

Have you read Swipe?  What did you think?

Swipe by Evan Angler | Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2011 | paperback 273 pgs | purchased  copy

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