MARTians by Blythe Woolston is sort of your standard dystopian future with a highly original twist. First of all, it appears to be a stand alone book (a sequel could certainly follow, but it doesn’t seem set up for one). In addition, (spoiler alert), Zoë doesn’t save the world from a corrupt government. This story is told on a smaller scale, where our heroine is not “the chosen one,” but rather anyone. She is struggling to live her life in what her world has become, rather than completely overhauling the world as she knows it. This is so vastly different from most YA dystopian books!
Another thing about this book – and something that makes it more frightening in some ways than other books of its type – is that this feels like a very, very near future. The consumerism, what happens with the government and the news, and the trajectory from school straight to a big box store all feel like things that are already happening. MARTians hits alarmingly close to home, and it’s not hard to imagine that if we continue on the path we (as a country) are headed down, that our future could easily resemble Zoë’s reality.
There were a lot of things the book didn’t address in detail – references to things like “Sexual Responsibility,” the relationship between Zoë and AnnaMom, what happened to coworkers that went missing, etc – that normally would have bothered me. Usually I want both explanations and closure, and yet somehow this just worked with the feel of MARTians as a whole. It’s almost as though part of the point of this book is non-closure. It is just a glimpse into part of Zoë’s life; a social commentary on where we are headed, without trying to wrap the whole thing up in a neat bow. And it really works here.