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by Hautman, Pete, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2006
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Jefferson Hills Public Library Young Adult YA FIC HAU
Location  Jefferson Hills Public Library
Collection  Young Adult
Call Number  YA FIC HAU
Shaler North Hills Library Young Adult Fiction YA HAU
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Young Adult Fiction
Call Number  YA HAU
"Of course, without people like us Marstens, there wouldn't be anybody to do the manual labor that makes this country run. Without penal workers, who would work the production lines, or pick the melons and peaches, or maintain the streets and parks and public lavatories? Our economy depends on prison labor. Without it everybody would have to work -- whether they wanted to or not."

In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he's sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that's surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it's nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory's highly illegal football team. In the meantime, Bork, an artificial intelligence that Bo created for a science project, tracks Bo down in prison. Bork has spun out of control and seems to be operating on his own. He offers to get Bo's sentence shortened, but can Bo trust him? And now that Bo has been crushing skulls on the field, will he be able to go back to his old, highly regulated life?

Pete Hautman takes a satirical look at an antiseptic future in this darkly comic mystery/adventure.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Gr. 9-12. It's very likely that the world has never seen a sports novel quite like this one, which evokes Louis Sachar's Holes (1998), M. T. Anderson's Feed (2004), and Chris Lynch's explorations of male aggression in Inexcusable (2005), all the while avoiding the merest whisper of predictability. In the United Safer States of America of the late twenty-first century, a national obsession with safety has criminalized even minor antisocial impulses. Bo's dad was put away in '73 for roadrage ; the teen's own anger issues likewise land him in one of the country's privatized penal colonies. There, he makes pizzas for McDonald's until the camp's sadistic overseer recruits him to play football. The illegal sport is brutally violent but exhilarating--and Bo, a gifted athlete, slowly begins to question his culture's basic assumptions, identifying with crotchety Gramps' view that the country went to hell the day we decided we'd rather be safe than free. At times, Hautman takes his signature eclecticism to an extreme, placing Bo in confrontations with polar bears, an intrusive artificial intelligence entity, and officials who suspect him of causing a rash outbreak. Like the author's similarly audacious Godless (2004) , though, this will satisfy teens with an appetite for big questions and gleeful ambiguities, while ratcheting up the mind-trip factor with a gimlet-eyed extrapolation of the future. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Hautman (Invisible) explores the modernday tension between safety and freedom in this intelligent and darkly comic satire set 70 years in the future. Despite the daily dose of sedative required for all teens in the United Safer States of America, Bo Marsten reacts badly when he sees his girlfriend with his track rival and nemesis. "The locks and harnesses and chains of self-control snapped, one after another, like Frankenstein's monster breaking loose from his bonds." In Bo's society, even minor infractions result in prison terms, because their labor "makes this country run." Sentenced to work at a pizza factory in the Canadian tundra (the USSA annexed Canada in 2055), Bo finds himself a candidate for the warden's favorite pastime-watching his inmates crush each other's skulls on the gridiron. Football is outlawed, so only outlaws can play (think The Longest Yard with bears). In the meantime, Bork, the A.I. that Bo had been creating in science class, achieves self-awareness and independently tracks Bo down in prison with a plan to spring him-but can Bo survive on the outside? Hautman's vision of a futuristic nation wracked by litigiousness and terrorism is sharply observed-and frightening. Bo's Gramps (born in 1990 when kids could still run without protective safety gear) incisively sums up the book's undercurrent: "I think the country went to hell the day we decided we'd rather be safe than free." This thought-provoking and highly entertaining dystopian fantasy is certain to spark discussion among teens. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Self-control -- Juvenile fiction.
Individuality -- Juvenile fiction.
Football stories.
Artificial intelligence -- Juvenile fiction.
Self-control -- Fiction.
Individuality -- Fiction.
Football -- Fiction.
Artificial intelligence -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers,2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 249 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 0689868014
Other Classic View