The Text: fast paced and real

The Text: fast paced and real

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The Text by Julane Fisher reminds me of the classic 1984 by George Orwell. I read that in high school years ago, but the feelings from the novel lasted all these years. Both dystopian novels address government control and lack of privacy.

The Text Review

In The Text, 16-year-old Rami and her friend Fin play a coding game to guess the identities of the techies in their online chat group. Rami’s win sends her into a dangerous predicament where someone kidnaps her mother and threatens the life of her brother to get what they want from Rami, who never intended to get involved in any political corruption. She just wants to be a normal teenager. The entire situation frightens her, and the authorities question her honesty because she’s not sure who she can trust—and for good reason!

Rami’s trust issues cause lots of turmoil and indecision and mistakes. Early on in the novel, Lela, Rami’s best friend says, “All I’m saying is you’ve been letting other people’s actions affect you for a long time. Maybe it’s time to stand up for what you want and stop letting others control your happiness.” I thought that this might be the theme of The Text.

But then I thought perhaps the theme could be not to be afraid and to stand up for what’s right. Several characters demonstrate this including her mom when she reminds her about the risks and consequences of our choices. “Never be afraid to stand up for what is right. But know there are always risks to our choices.” Often doing the right thing is the hardest and costs us something.

Intertwined in these ideas is the message about forgiveness also. Because of her father’s hurtful actions, Rami struggles with forgiveness. Her mom gives this advice: “You need to forgive your father. Bitterness is like a cancer, Rami. It creeps inside our bone marrow, eating us from the inside out. We grow cold and angry, and become incapable of loving others.”

Later when a friend betrays her, she remembers what her mom told her and decides she cannot let this new betrayal cause her to be incapable of love. She can let it become a barrier, or she can choose to forgive and let it go. Forgiveness can be very difficult, but holding on to it hurts us more than the person guilty of the hurt.

This is an amazing, adventurous read that engages you into this world. In one spot when she refers to an opossum, I think she means armadillo because opossums don’t have hard shells, but this blip is easily skimmed past.

This fast-paced novel, kept me racing through the pages and left me feeling a bit worried by its realism. Even in the present, we already concern ourselves with our smart televisions, phones, and assistants listening in on us. How often do we get bursts of advertisements based on a recent search or random comment? Rami’s world feels real which makes this novel a bit on the scary side.

The story includes some violence and a bit of romance, but Fisher writes a clean novel, so readers have no worries of suddenly coming upon anything inappropriate. While the dramatic events happen during only two months, the intensity Rami experiences feels longer as we live through the harrowing experiences with her and her friends.

I hope you will get a chance to read this YA novel soon. Do you have a recommendation to share?

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