Thursday, August 4, 2011

Joint Book Review Discussion: The Predicteds by Christine Seifert

So Michelle of Galleysmith and I thought it would be fun to have a conversational review about a few of my dystopian reads this month. These will be more in-depth than my usual reviews and discuss plot points in a non-spoilery way.  We'll be posting about a different book every Thursday, and this week, THE PREDICTEDS is up.

Here's the official summary:

Daphne is the new girl in town and is having trouble fitting in. At least she has Jesse... sort of. He wants to be more than "just friends," but there's something he's not telling her about his past. Something dangerous. When a female student is brutally attacked, police turn to PROFILE, a new program that can predict a student's capacity for drug use, pregnancy, and violent behavior, to solve the case. As the witch hunt ensues, Daphne is forced to question her feelings for Jesse-and what she will do if her first love turns out to be a killer.

Michelle and I decided to discuss four topics: Genre classification, Believability, Discrimination and Predictability.  The first two we discuss below, the second two we discuss over at Galleysmith.

Genre classification 

Based on the premise, I expected this to be a sort of MINORITY REPORT for teens.  I guess that’s why I thought the prologue was Daphne being arrested by PROFILE police for either aiding and abetting Jesse (her Predicted love interest) or rebellion or something of that nature.  But my expectations were way off.  I don’t think readers should go into this expecting a classic dystopia – if anything this is a very, very limited dystopia.  In fact, I was surprised to discover while reading that PROFILE was available at only one Oklahoma school and was very peripheral to the plot for most of the book.

I wouldn't classify this book as dystopian at all.  PROFILE wasn't a government-based initiative and it didn't oppress an entire population.  At first I was thinking it was veering into science fiction but the more I thought on it I'd say this book falls more into the psychological thriller or contemporary genre than anything else.  As you mentioned, the bulk of the plot centralizes around personal relationships and there is quite a bit of attention paid to more ethical issues like bigotry and free-will.    I could see where your thought that it was a limited dystopia based on Daphne's rebellion against PROFILE rings true but that still wasn't enough for me to put it firmly in that classification.

Yeah, I don't think readers should go into this expecting a dystopia, though the potential was definitely there.  It was actually set-up like a typical mystery/thriller, except that it wasn't particularly mysterious.

MICHELLE:  True that on the un-mysterious mystery.


I really liked that the stakes were upped for Daphne by making her mother the designer of PROFILE  (Predictive Readout of Forseen and Illustrative Life Effects: a computer program that examines a range of psychological data to predict how likely someone is to commit a violent act, become an addict or have social problems).  However, what I don’t understand is why, if Daphne’s mother had moral objections to the program that made her quit the project, she moved many states away to enroll her daughter in the one and only test school. That makes her kind of a pyscho if you ask me …

I know right!?  And more than that, if her mother had ethical objections strong enough to quit her job, continue research on her own and move to the place where alpha tests were occurring why wasn't she publicly screaming from the rooftops about PROFILE being bad?  I'd be working the whistle-blower angle all over the place!  I felt like she should have been less focused on being in her office and continuing research as opposed to being some sort of active deterrent to it all.  It made the fact that she finally tried to take limited action later feel hollow and pointless.  I also didn't get why she was so intimidated by the school administration.  These people had no influence on her.

But otherwise, I liked the mother.  She's a kooky scientist type, but there was some nice growth in her relationship with Daphne in the narrative.  

MICHELLE: I liked the mother but it seemed out of place for me.  But I agree the development of their relationship was a high point in the book.  Frankly, I actually found Daphne to be most believable character in the book.  She was relatively reserved and quite self-aware.  She wanted to facilitate change but given her position in the HS hierarchy wasn't too thrilled with the prospect of rocking the boat too far.  It was interesting to see her take the steps she did given the fact that she was on a bit of a roller-coaster ride between the popular crowd and outcasts.

Zombie chickens say: We predict mean girls in your future.

THE PREDICTEDS comes out at the end of this month on August 31, 2011.  Find out more about it at the publisher's website.

Song for the Ultimate Dystopian Playlist: The Killer Inside by Better than Ezra.  Sample lyric: "And I hope that she believes. Yes I wonder if she sees the killer inside me."


Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to this. I have an interview with Christine on my blog right now. She is also giving away an ARC of The Predicteds. Anyone Interested?

Melissa said...

You just mentioned Better than Ezra! I knew I liked your blog...but now I like it even more. My all-time favorite band and such an eerie song...can't wait to read this one!

Zibilee said...

It sounds like this one was interesting, but had a few eyebrow raising moments. I really appreciated getting both of your opinions on this one, and can see that you basically agree with a lot of the aspects of this book. Not sure if this is one that I would read or not.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks SP for the link!

Melissa - Back in the late 90s, I went to 12 BTE shows!!

Alyce said...

I love the cover! Thanks for the heads-up about it not being completely dystopian in nature. It still looks like a good read though.

bermudaonion said...

You and Michelle did a great job with this. I enjoyed reading both of your posts, but don't think I'll look for the book.