Feed by M.T. Anderson

Book Info
Feed by M.T. Anderson
©2002 Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA
ISBN 978-0763617264

Plot Summary
In a future America, commercialism has been taken to new heights with the introduction of “feeds.” Hardwired into the brain, the feed is a constant stream of information, advertising, news, and the latest in fashion and events. For teens like Titus and his friends, feeds are essential for discovering where to party and what’s hot to wear. After a party on the moon (which apparently sucks), Titus meets the intriguing Violet. Unlike Titus and his friends who love and depend on the feed, Violet challenges it and asks important questions like “why?” But when Violet’s and Titus’ feeds get hacked, she does not recover as he does, likely due to its late installation many years after birth. Due to the feed’s connection to the brain, she begins to deteriorate as well as experience elements of clarity without the feed. Can she and Titus fight the feed and discover its secrets before the deterioration kills her completely?

Reader’s Annotation
Imagine having Twitter and Facebook hardwired directly into your brain, with the added element of nonstop advertising. This endless stream of information is a reality in the world of M.T. Anderson’s Feed. Follow Titus and his friends as they develop from feed-lovers to questioning its very existence and impact on their lives.

Critical Evaluation
Written years before the explosion of websites like Facebook or Twitter, Feed seems eerily prophetic. While it isn’t connected directly to our brains, most of us are glued to these websites through our computers and smart phones to share our thoughts, communicate with friends, find out about the latest party, and be bombarded by sidebar advertising. In Feed, this form of speechless communication was linked directly to the brain, inundating people with information. It is a thought-provoking social commentary that cleverly highlights current trends in society and culture and though it seems to be a slightly exaggerated future, Anderson makes it feel completely plausible and like something that could truly exist in a few years if things continue as they are. For a sense of realism, the feeds in the book use a great amount of teenage slang that was developed by this future generation. With any type of slang, it may be difficult to understand by people not familiar with it, but it adds a sense of being in the heads of the characters right along with them.

Information about the Author
Born November 4, 1968, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anderson attended St. Mark’s School, Harvard, University of Cambridge, and Syracuse. He worked at Candlewick Press before Thirsty was accepted for publication. Anderson is a former instructor at Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont, and former music critic for The Improper Bostonian.

Anderson is also a board member of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, a national non-profit organization that advocates for literacy, literature, and libraries. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Vermont College of Fine Arts. After learning Anderson included the Governor’s official mailing address in Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware, Governor Jack Markell penned a tongue-in-cheek response, which State Librarian Annie Norman presented to M. T. Anderson in September 2009.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Science Fiction, Dystopian, Cyberpunk

Curriculum Ties
Sociology

Booktalking Ideas
Violet received her feed later in life. How does this make her different?

How does the feed compare to things we find in our everyday lives, such as television, Facebook, and Twitter?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
15+

Challenge Issues

  • Mild sexuality
  • Foul language

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
This book was recommended by the librarian at a library where I volunteer. I was worried that I had too many books geared towards girls, and wanted to add some more masculine books, and ended up with something smart and thought provoking that would appeal to both genders.

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