Set in an alternate near future Taipei, Want is the thrilling adventure that YA desperately needs right now. Readers will easily fall in love with the amazingly diverse characters that Cindy Pon has created, and their quest to bringing forth a better future for all of their people.
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.
Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
This book easily reads as if you were watching a movie and I loved that. Cindy Pon’s description of this world immediately captivated me because it felt so alike to our present one. We don’t know much about our main character, Zhou, when we first meet him so he’s a little mysterious at first. Quickly, we learn that he’s mei, the poor who live “beneath” the rich, known as the yous. I easily sensed what a decent person Zhou was, but how he’s been forced to become a survivor by any means necessary after his mother’s death.
More characters are quickly introduced and the lives they live is truly heartbreaking. This alternate Taipei is overrun by pollution, and the meis are forced to wear masks that hardly even help because they still end up living such short lives compared to the yous. The yous who can afford to buy special suits, made by Jin Corp, that keeps them from breathing the air outside. As the world continued to build around me, I couldn’t help but easily root for every single character.
They were everything in this story. And there is so much representation in this book that my little heart was full of so much love for Cindy Pon! Along with Zhou, there was Lingyi, Iris, Victor, Arun, and Daiyu. I enjoyed all of them and what they brought to the story! They were all so different, but their circumstances eventually brought them together in life. I loved how loyal they were to each other. It brought that quote to life, you make your own family, and this set of characters did just that.
Once the world is set, the story begins to move more quickly and I loved all of the action. Want definitely felt like a thrilling heist book for me. There’s so many twists and turns to keep readers on their toes! All of the greed, betrayals, felt so relevant while reading. And every time Zhou would mention how their lives would’ve been different if only people in the past cared enough, broke my heart.
Everyone needs to add this eye-opening story to their bookshelf. Cindy Pon’s brilliant writing will draw you into this intriguing world of a future Taipei. Their people (and food) alone will keep you wanting more from this story. Every aspect of these characters’ lives will bring up thoughts in your own. It’ll truly give so much meaning behind Zhou’s bravery for a better world.
The story wraps up nicely, there is no real cliffhanger. But I’m so excited to learn that a sequel is in the works because I need more of these characters! I loved this book so much! The only downfall for me was the fact that I didn’t completely love Zhou’s romance arc. Probably because I don’t think anyone is good enough for my new book boyfriend, but you know. Anyways, I highly recommend everyone check this book out! It’s thrilling, thought-provoking, and fun with such diverse characters! You won’t be disappointed!
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