The bar code tattoo. Everybody's getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.
But what if you say no? What if you don't want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things happen to her family. There's no option but to run . . . for her life.
Individuality vs. conformity. Identity vs. access. Freedom vs. control.
Suzanne Weyn grew up in Williston Park, Long Island, New York. She has three sisters and a brother. As a girl she was very interested in theater and in reading. Louisa May Alcott was her favorite author, but she also read every Sherlock Holmes story. Suzanne lived pretty close to the ocean and going to Jones Beach was one of her favorite activities Even today, if she goes too long without seeing the ocean, she starts feeling restless. Suzanne now lives in upper New York State with her husband, two teen daughters and Abby the cat. Her house is at the edge of the woods and is nearly 200 years old. She graduated from State University of New York at Binghamton and received her Masters degree from Pace University. She teaches part time at City College in New York. Suzanne’s other books for Simon Pulse include South Beach Sizzle, a romantic comedy written with Diana Gonzalez. Her novels for the Simon Pulse line, “Once Upon a Time” are The Night Dance; a Retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Water Song: a Retelling of the Frog Prince, and The Crimson Thread: a Retelling of Rumplestiltskin. She very much enjoys rethinking these classic tales from an original point of view, always looking for the real psychological underpinning of the story. Suzanne is currently doing revisions on her fourth book in the line, which will be coming in '09. Suzanne’s other recent novels are include The Bar Code Tattoo (2004) and its sequel. The Bar Code Rebellion (2006). The Bar Code Tattoo was selected by the American Library Assoc. (ALA) as a '05 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and was a ’07 Nevada Library nominee for “Best Young Adult Fiction”. It is currently translated into German and was nominated for the '07 Jugenliteraturpreis for Young People’s Literature.
Overall, this book started out pretty good. Futuristic dystopia, great idea. But... Underdeveloped. It was a good easy read that fit together well, if a bit shakily, up until Kayla escapes from the hospital. From there, it seems like either the author was working hard and fast to meet a deadline or doing everything in her power to make it under a certain number of pages, because every scene is speedy, too quick to really process. It is like you as a reader are being shoved into this completely new environment that has barely anything to do with the chapter that came before, and there isn't enough time or detail to really understand how everything fits together. People pop up out of nowhere, people die without half a mention, the story doesn't ever really resolve. At all. Sequel maybe? I'm not planning on reading it. The crude language and kind of gross relationship scenes are enough to scare me off.
this is a book that talks about the future, 2025. the government of the USA makes every person to get a tattoo in their wrist. this is requiredfor every single citizen at age 18 and so. but this girl found something about the tatoos. their family died for these tattoos. The bar code tattoo talks about the new kind of identity in the United States, and also in the developed countries. It’s to get a bar code tattoo as if we were things. After some months when a girl called Kayla who refuses to get the tattoo, she thinks that this tattoo could bother her life forever. Then the president of the USA makes a law that every citizen of the USA has to get the tattoo at age 18 and so. This tattoo carries identity, social life, records, and bank accounts; well all the things that are under your name; including your genes. Kayla’s parents were making her to get the tattoo on her 18th birthday as a present. But when she was in line to get the tattoo she saw how the police killed a guy who had discovered some dark secrets about this tattoo; the only thing he said before he died was “don’t get a tattoo, the tattoo can control your genes.” When she saw this, her life suddenly changed. After couple days, her father became crazy, and then killed himself because he discovered something really bad about the tattoo. Then her mother got a really sad depression, and become alcoholic, at the same time she worked at the hospital and saw how the government put a chip on all the babies, in this way the government can control all the babies and kill them if they get any bad or mortal disease. Insurance companies could know everything about their customers, well with this they know which customers choose. In this new government, the state does not respect the rights of every individual. They want to control the people as dictators would.
There are multiple problems with this book, first being the overall flow of the story-there wasn't one. Usually you'll have a build up to a climax but this book is lacking that, rather it has many small disappointing peaks. Just when you think the main character is going to have to fend for herself and show her inner strength someone appears to rescue her. The big let down in that is that friends from the beginning of the book reappear at 'just the right time' which took away any shred of realism-hard to come by in a YA work of fiction so I hope you understand my meaning.
The writing style itself made this book difficult to read. The author at the beginning seemed to repeat and reword sentences; almost like a school student trying to get a word count in a book report. I realize the book is MEANT for young adults but it felt like it was written BY a young adult. She used phrases such as final level, banged out, and astral which may fit the stereotypical futuristic story they grated on my nerves. It felt like the author was watching a lot of the Jetsons during this writing. Entirely to forced.
Teachers sometimes tell a student to write what you know and it seems to have been used here-but ruined with so many themes. Paranormal plot twists, government conspiracies, GMOs, modern technology run amok. It felt like she was reaching to grab so many different genres and readers that the story and characters didn't get enough depth.
I also disliked the 'secret love affair' that crops up between the main character and the predictable dark, brooding, male lead at the beginning. He is dating another girl and our main character tolerates him dating another woman.More frustrating than the damsel in distress behavior that I see so much of is this one. A terrible example for young girls. There were questionable behaviors that fit the circumstances and in context are easy to dismiss but yet another weak female who the author tries to portray as strong...a waste.
I think the only part of the book I actually enjoyed was the short news articles inserted after the previous mentioned little peaks in the story. The flashbacks-or should that be flash forwards?
It's been quite awhile since I've read a book I disliked THIS much. It immediately went into my pile to add on paperback swap. Curiosity and the desire to write my first review is what kept me reading it, otherwise it was not a page turner by any stretch. By the last quarter of the book I had a hard time finishing it. Normally a book like this would be a one day read-it took three days.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
They say getting the bar code tattoo will make your life easier!
At first, the government simply recommended getting the bar code tattoo on your seventeenth birthday as a means of adult identification, a way to make your life more streamlined, easier, and more efficient. But some people noticed that a lot of bad things were happening to some families who got the tattoo. Everything changed. And then the government criminalized the choice of not getting the tattoo. Obviously the government was removing an individual’s choice of non-conformity. Beyond simple identification, it was clear that there was a lot of information embodied in that tattoo. Kayla Reed was not willing to give up her freedom and accede to the demands of a government that she saw as over-reaching.
You have to give author Suzanne Weyn full marks for creating a credible dystopian young adult plot and writing an exciting, readable novel that is really quite compelling. But, in my opinion at least, BAR CODE TATTOO just doesn’t qualify for a four- or five-star review for a very simple reason. The plot covers a lot of ground but not one shovelful of the dirt that gets pushed around constitutes new ground. It’s all been written before. Government over-reach and big-brother identification is old hat from George Orwell’s 1984. Loss of self-determination? How about Suzanne Collins’ HUNGER GAMES or Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT. Development of non-verbal mental communication skills? The young people of Waknuk have already been there and done that in John Wyndham’s THE CHRYSALIDS. Eugenics? Circle back to 1984 and add in Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD for good measure.
A good story that makes for thoroughly enjoyable quick reading. But if you’re looking for new dystopian ideas, BAR CODE TATTOO just doesn’t qualify. On the plus side, one can hope that it gives its young readers pause and forces them to reject blind or unthinking acceptance of government decree.
My daughter chose this book for a school project and read it aloud to me over the past few weeks. Though the concept sounded promising, it was not well executed. The dialog was terrible, the characters were flat, and the pacing was uneven. Things would happen with little or no explanation, time would pass unaccounted for, and the ending was just silly. I always view YA through a special lens because I realize that I am not the intended audience, but this book had far too many issues and none of those issues had to do with genre.
MY THOUGHTS I've seen this book around, but never picked it up because of the awkward cover. I saw it at a cheap book sale, though, so I figured "why not?". I probably could've done without reading this book. It wasn't horrible. It's your typical dystopian, but it was just meh overall.
Everyone is getting the bar code tattoo. Everyone over the age of 17 gets one. The tattoo is becoming the new currency and it carries all of your information. What's the big deal? It's not a problem if you have nothing to hide? But normal people's lives are being destroyed by this tattoo, while others are getting promoted. Kayla is against the tattoo and knows that it's dangerous, but when her society is getting closer to it being mandatory, can she keep her promise to herself? And what is in those bar codes?
This book is your typical dystopian. Government tries to be utopia, everyone goes along with it, except for MC, and MC joins rebellion. This isn't bad, but I've seen it all before (though, this book was published before the dystopian craze, so I can't really blame the book). I still liked the idea behind this book. I thought the tattoos were interesting and you really see a sheep-like effect in the population with the introduction to the tattoo, then they ignore any bad rep. It was also interesting seeing how fast and far things escalated. It's sad to say that this is how people would probably react, but it's true. I would also like to mention that there was a surprising kind-of paranormal-ish element to the book. It made it a bit different.
Now, I'm sorry to say that from here on, my review is going to be a bit negative. The book wasn't bad, but I couldn't ignore the flaws. My main problem was the pacing. The pacing was extremely fast, which meant that we were told things rather than shown and some parts were completely skipped over. There is one part where it mentions that Kayla's birthday is weeks away, then the next chapter she wakes up on her birthday! Where did the time go?
Kayla, as a main character, was okay. I liked that she was into art and how she stands up for what she believes in, but other than that, there really wasn't much to her. The characters in this book felt really flat to me, not just Kayla, everyone.
As for romance, it was there, but it was so flat! There were actually two love interests, but I felt NOTHING for either of them, because their characters were so flat. Also, the thing I like about romance in books is all the feels. The romance was just cardboard. Instead of describing the kiss, it was described as "we kissed". Then they supposedly loved each other and had dates, all of which were skipped over!
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this book was just "meh". I liked the idea and despite it being a typical dystopian, it had some new ideas. The pacing, though, was too fast and both the characters and romance were pure cardboard. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't ignore the flaws. As for continuing the series, maybe. If I see it at another book sale, I'll pick it up. Otherwise, I'll just pass.
The United States government has been taken over by Global-1 – they basically own everything imaginable – technology, medicine, food, politicians. Global-1 is trying to enact a law that requires everyone over the age of 17 to get a bar code tattoo. The tattoo is supposed to make everything easier, because it keeps all of the information about a person in one place – I.D., bank account, credit, medical history, everything. Lots of people love the tattoo, because it makes transactions so easy and fast, but the tattoo has some unexpected consequences as well. For instance, Kayla’s father commits suicide soon after he gets his tattoo. Kayla, weeks away from being 17 and being required to get her own tattoo, is left wondering why her dad killed himself over a bar code.
Kayla ends up joining a group of protesters around her age who are fighting the bar coding of America. They publish a zine on the dangers of the bar code, and speculate on just what information might be encoded in it. More and more people are experiencing the effects of barcoding – both positive and negative – and it becomes obvious that Global-1 is hiding something about the tattoos. Kayla stumbles upon it when she is able to access the encrypted file that contains the data stored in her father’s bar code. That’s when she learns that people’s DNA is stored in their files. That might not seem like it’s very important, but the information buried in the genetic code is being used by others to favor certain individuals over others – those that have good genes are the ones who receive promotions, medical benefits, awards, opportunities, etc. Those that have bad genes find themselves passed over, ignored, overlooked, and in some cases, exterminated.
This was a lot like the movie Gattaca. If you don’t have the right genes, you can’t really aspire to do anything meaningful. Measurements of your ability don’t have any meaning if you can’t present a flawless genetic profile. No one wants you.
This raises a lot of really good questions about sharing personal data and information and how it could go awry. I’m sure that some of this already goes on. People keep saying over and over that you don’t need to worry if you have nothing to hide, but why does the government need to have access to this information, and what will they do with it? There are some really scary possibilities. With genetics, you might not even know what you’re hiding. Even more importantly, is it ethical (morally right) to deny people access to care or medical attention based on their genes? And what about having a governing body (that hasn’t been chosen by its people, but rather by its monetary power base) that makes these decisions *for* people? To eliminate the weak in favor of the strong, the feeble-minded in favor of the intelligent, etc.? It’s taking selection out of the hands of nature. How much do we do this already? The implications are fascinating to think about.
This was not a great piece of literature. It was easy to read, didn’t use a lot of challenging words, and moved really quickly. Its strengths are the ideas that it sets out to examine – the ‘what if’ is truly the driving force, and that was enough for me to be fascinated by it. The story itself is kind of lame and predictable, except toward the end where it just veers off in a random direction. Not that the direction isn’t foreshadowed, just that it’s unnecessarily fantastic. Weyn’s point is that natural selection works differently than the kind of forced selection that Global-1 is implementing, and she’s concerned about the effects that our interference might be having on that process. She throws in this curveball ending where the humans who are resisting the bar code tattoos suddenly start developing psychic powers. Ok. You lost me there. Because they’re being threatened with tattoos, they develop new ways to communicate with one another? That’s just…confusing. And Weyn doesn’t really present any scientific evidence (real or fabricated) for that kind of amazing change (and in so many people at once!). Are these latent powers that everyone has that are suddenly stressed into expressing themselves? In that case it’s not a new mutation; it’s something that everyone already has. I could have done without this particular departure. There’s a bit too much to swallow in the ending of this book, but otherwise, it raises a lot of questions that would be great for discussion.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Quick & Dirty: A girl refuses to follow the crowd and ends up joining a rebellion.
Opening Sentence: Outside, rain drummed against the window.
Everyone is getting the Bar Code Tattoo. No one over 17 doesn’t have it. Except Kayla. The United States, like many other countries, is controlled by Global1, the company that created the Tattoo. As the tattoo controls more and more of their identity, Kayla joins a small rebel group at her school, dedicated to inform the public about the consequences of getting the bar code. But when someone inside betrays them and Kayla’s mom becomes more frantic to get the bar code off, Kayla is forced to run. While searching for the rebel group in the mountains, Kayla runs into many people, both friend and foe.
I wish this book was longer.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book (not only because the main character’s name was Kayla), but I had a hard time connecting to it because scenes were not fleshed out and the plot kept moving when I wanted more. If this book had another 200 pages full of good writing, I would have rated this higher. But since it has boring writing and a plot that skips weeks in one page, I did not enjoy the book.
Okay, so good things first: I like the overall plot arc. The world of Global1 and their control of the world seems realistic as technology advances. I like the main character, Kayla, who is just about the only dynamic character in the book. I like the setting of the United States. This goes back to the whole arc of the story, but the world building in this book was pretty good.
On the other hand, most of the good things listed above were poorly executed. Although the overall idea of the story was good, the pacing was awful. The book can be split into three parts: before running, running and after running. The “before running’s” spacing is sooo slow! Almost nothing happens until she joins the rebel group. It’s all world building. “Running” was very repetitive. She finds someone to help her, they send her on her way. And every time she finds someone, it’s in a restaurant after escaping in the woods. The “after running” skipped so much! Weyn just lists the stuff she does, saying she repeats it and then suddenly we’re skipping weeks of character development! Kayla changes and grows after every encounter with a new person, but if we don’t see her as she grows, it makes the book boring.
Now the worst part of the book: the love interests. I cringe every time I think of them. I give Weyn props for unpredictability with Zeke, but Mfumbe is a static character. He never changes. He’s always there for Kayla. He has no problems (as in, he never shows any other emotion besides loyalty, even though he’s also on the run.) Both loves are instant – or at least seem instant because the story jumps ahead again from when they meet to when they say those three words (which also annoys me because she has only known both for a month or so before they confess their love.)
Overall, I would not recommend this book. Although by the end of the book it gets more interesting, there is nothing in the beginning that begs you to turn the page or even care about the characters. There’s a major cliffhanger at the end, but honestly I didn’t really care.
“Hey, Mom, I got a job,” she spoke bitterly to the sleeping figure. “Isn’t that great! Yeah. I knew you’d be excited.”
Entering the kitchen, she found an egg in the refrigerator and scrambled it. There was no bread for toast. Fortunately, a box of saltines had been overlooked. Saltines and eggs – egg, actually – wasn’t a bad dinner. As she ate, she surveyed the messy kitchen and considered cleaning it.
The phone rang. “Hello?”
On the other end, someone emitted an anguished sob.
“Amber? Is that you? Amber? What’s wrong?”
FTC Advisory: Scholastic provided me with a copy of The Bar Code Tattoo. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
This book wasn't finished. I'd say it was the second draft, just barely one step up from an I-have-this-idea-let's-get-it-on-paper-really-quick draft and it needed three of four more to really flesh it out. The Bar Code Tattoo was super underdeveloped with simplistic writing, which was a shame because the concept was one of the most possible and realistic dystopian futures I've read.
Government tracking, peer pressure, lack of privacy, etc. (not too far off from a smartphone, am I right? I wonder when company's will get rid of feature phones all together), just a few mere steps away from normal.
But even on top of the laaaaame writing, the main character was an utter pain in the butt and really, really shallow. Kayla is one of the worst heroines I've ever read, so dull and personality-less that I can't even hate her. The romance was just the worst. Cute boring dude or hot boring dude? The pacing made no sense, the psychic rebels totally random and out of place...the whole thing just fell completely flat.
Kudos for a creative idea and for writing it out, but boo for not caring enough to take the time to make that idea something good.
I had to read this for class however I credit this book to being the worst book I have ever read. It did not have anything close to a consistent plot and every character was more one dimensional than literally every character ever. The book was written from the perspective of a self centered nitwit who is difficult to like. Wait, I phrased that wrong. It’s physically impossible for a reader to like her because she’s a flipping one dimensional character with no personality. Also, this book is biased towards her and her friends who think that the government is evil. Well guess what? Governments tend to suck but you can’t just hide in the freaking mountains. AND THEN COMPROMISE THE LOCATION IF YOUR HIDEOUT?!!! AND THEN BE FORGIVEN BECAUSE “iT waS A MiStaKe” To be fair it was a mistake but the book still is not my kinda book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I'm only about 70 pages in and it seems to be a book for YA/Ad Lit readers/teachers if they are looking for utopia/dystopia readings. Essentially, the future (about 2020/2025) has each person tatooed with a bar code. Some believe, "if you're not doing anything wrong, why worry about it?" where others realize the danger of information that could be created and passed on within that bar-code. An interesting read in the age of the Patriot Act and for readers who are (or will one day be) familiar with Orwell's Big Brother. Some of the mystical stuff at the end was goofy, I thought, but still a good read.
A next-century-future novel, where a bar code tattoo is being pushed for every member of society. Why resist when it makes every financial transaction and instance in which ID is required easier? Except some lives are being ruined once people get their tattoo.
Een verrassend fijn boek over een verplichte tatoeage die heel de samenleving overhoop gooit. De toffe thematiek doet denken aan de wat als? scenario's uit Black Mirror en stelt de kracht van technologie aan de kaak. Het einde van het boek vond ik echter wat vaag en ik weet niet zeker of ik de reeks verder zal lezen - maar het was een heerlijk boek voor tussendoor. Lees mijn complete recensie op Oog op de Toekomst.
Not good in content, style, or dialogue. This was a good concept that fell disappointingly flat. It seemed really current in it's idea. With the current scandals of government wiretapping the media and IRS intimidation of political groups, along with the current debate over Common Core and the implementation of Obamacare, I expected this story to feel more realistic and fresh. Unfortunately this book was written 10 years ago, and it shows. It is painfully outdated.
The writing was very choppy. It felt more like a script than a novel. Too much stage direction and not enough emotion. It felt like a robot used a formula to write this book. Start with HERO, add a life altering decision (LAD). Eliminate parents to make HERO act in a world void of adult influence. Impose illogical boundaries such as no phones or private email address so that no one can communicate with each other so that HERO cannot solve very simple everyday problems. Add love interest (LI). Add unnecessary make-out scene to keep teen interest. Give HERO visions of the future witch never appear in this book in an attempt to shamelessly try to lure readers into buying the second book in the series. Introduce love triangle (LT). LI influences HERO to make LAD in one direction. Make bizarre references to the book of Revelations. Every fifty pages add a random plot twist. For no particular reason LI now influences HERO to make LAD in opposite direction as before. Randomly introduce second love triangle (2LT). HERO goes on wild trek into the wild. Randomly meets and loses LI1 and LI2 multiple times. Fast forward weeks at a time with no warning or explanation. Add a surprise ending: HERO is now telepathic and lives happily in the woods with a group of other telepaths who no longer need to use words to speak aloud because they can all communicate with their minds. THE END
I had some decent expectations for this book and ended up being disappointed. It was no where near as good as I thought it would be, not to mention I am not particularly fond of the author's writing. It's a YA novel but to be honest I feel like it was written by a teenager. The language wasn't rich nor interesting, it made the story flat. The only perk to the book would be the plot, the idea of a society where every 17 year old needed to get a bar code tattoo containing everything about themselves sounded very interesting. The story had potential but I feel as if the author didn't do a very decent job of making her story live to up to expectations. The characters were so fake, you couldn't relate to them at at where as in other similar style novels such as Divergent or the Hunger Games I felt like I could connect to and understand the main characters.
The Barcode Tattoo was also quite predictable. (Small "spoiler") Near the end of story where Kayla (heroine) needed to travel up north, she coincidentally kept on bumping into people who were also against the barcode and were also surprising headed to where she needed to go.
Overall the novel is decent. I would recommend it but only if you are looking for a short shallow read without much thrill. Do not have high/good expectations like I did or you may be disappointed.
just no. I can not deal with this book, there are way too many problems with it! I really really liked the basic idea of the book: a barcode tattoo which has a lot of different information about you like identification, driving license, bank account etc. However, the writing style was simply horrible. The characters in the story have no real character development. The author seems to just put one event after the other with no logical thinking. Whenever the situation gets difficult or dangerous, oh miracle, someone comes and solves everything (why is this person there out of a sudden?) sentences like "two weeks later... seven days later..." within a chapter occur so often and you are left behind thinking "ahmmm... what kinda did happen between these two events..?). The character introductions? oh my, I don't even want to start writing about that, and the relationship development was even worse. I really admire authors for their hard work and I really think books should be honored as it is so much work that goes unappreciated, however this book is one of the worst I've read so far
this book was on what will happen if everyone in the world was only identified by a code. In the book, getting a bar code was a cool thing and you get it when you turn a certain age. (16? 18?) but the government was corrupt and was killing everyone that was did not have the perfect DNA. and anyone with a history of cancer would be killed and the bar code tracked the movements of everyone. I thought this was wrong and so did the protaganist of the book; she decided to run away from her communtiy. i think it is dumb and harsh to base someone's live on what if their family has a history of cancer. In the book, more importantly everyone loses their identity and that is just like being zombies. Everyone should be based on their actions not on anything esle.
Adrienne texted me the other day. "Omg just read the worst YA series you gotta read it, the bar code tattoo trilogy, it takes like 3 hours for all 3 and it's a mess and I want to talk to you about it lol"
I admit I was skeptical, but this book delivered in Hot Mess. It's got two stars because it's one of those "so bad I need to see where this goes." First of all, it's a book inspired by an end times pamphlet. I mean....really. But okay, whatever, a good writer can work with that to a certain extent. This one, however, takes the whole "show, don't tell" advice and chucks it right out the window. Into a pile of poop. And then throws some pee balloons at it.
The three decisions written on the back of this book, and the three things that you decide to have in your life today. While reading the barcode tattoo I was sent into a future world that doesn’t seem too far off of what we know the world as today. Kayla struggles to fit into the new big trend, getting a barcode tattoo. Her father took his own life because of it, and her mother too. Her best friend, Amber and her family are struggling to keep their house and their bar codes mysterious stopped working, why? Kayla is on the hunt to find out answers that the government isn’t providing. She’s on the run, trying to find her true self within this intrusive and controlling society. A wanted fugitive, she finds herself in the Adirondack Mountains where she joins a resistance group and rebels against the tattoo and tries to find answers to her biggest question; what information does the barcode tattoo hold?
this was an awesome book. I felt it was written great and I also felt that it was a little hard to follow like, for example, Kayla was think about Zekeal and the next minute he was there no train no nothing just there. this kinda bothers me to the point where it was almost expected to happen which kinda bothered me. otherwise, I loved the book and i am reading the second book right not. I'm am looking forward to finishing the 3 books
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
1) The Barcode Tattoo was one of those books in my library that was constantly irritating me. Every time I walked in and started scouring the shelves, there it was; sometimes there would even be two copies! The cover combined with it's name put me off reading it (yes, i know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover so sue me)and I managed to ignore it for half a year. One day, I reached out to pick another novel off the rack when The Barcode Tattoo jumped out at me. Well, not literally but you get the gist. The heavens had given me a sign, and who was I to ignore that? So I signed inwardly to myself,grabbed the cursed novel and took it home.
2) An interesting character in this book to me was Mfumbe Taylor. He is the lover of Kayla, the main character. At 17 years of age, people were expected to get a tattoo that could be scanned with lasers-essentially a barcode. It was used to store their currency, keep various bits of information and marked a person as an accepted member of society. Mfumbe and Kayla were still under 17 during the beginning of the story, and they didn't agree with the way the world was changing around them. They were the only ones questioning what the real purpose of the tattoo was, and this put them in terrible danger. In the last bit of the book, Mfumbe puts his own health at risk to protect Kayla and this made me admire him very much as a person because the 'officials' knew that he had been conspiring against their well-thought-out development and there was no limit to how they would punish him for that. The fact that he was strong through it just to protect someone he met a few months ago was very uplifting.
3) There are a lot of amazing quotes in this novel, but one in particular stood out for me: “You become the monster you fear the worst, so the monster won't overtake you.” I read this line over and over again, because it is an amazing comparison. Quite a lot of people that I know end their relationships early because they are afraid of rejection; rejection being the ‘monster’ in this metaphor. It is part of human nature to be fearful of things. A fear of fire means that you won’t get burnt, a fear of heights means that you won’t get injured, this is what has kept our species alive for such a long time. Getting dumped is much less dire than those scenarios but that doesn’t mean it is any less scary, emotional pain can be a lot worse it’s physical reciprocal. The quote made me realize that I am actually one of those people that would rather become the problem than face one of my own, which calls for some serious soul searching.
4) The barcode concept to this book made me think about what it really meant to be a human being. Were we just pawns in the game of life sitting on the shelf until someone important enough decided we were useful? I think that yes, people can sometimes be treated as if they are inanimate, such as the social security numbers that you must have in order to make a living or the fact that you need a passport to go see your loved ones. People need a system that is reliable and stable, and that is why we have these labels and records about ourselves, even if they do dehumanize us to a certain extent. I think that sometimes blending in and becoming part of the bigger picture does not have to be a negative.
"The Bar Code Tattoo" by Suzanne Weyn is a story set in the future. It tells the timeless tale about a teenager’s rebellion against a status quo. Kayla Reed lived in a society where once you turned 17, your life changed drastically: for the better or for the worse. She had to decide whether to get the bar code tattoo and fit in with the rest of society. Growing up often means making a choice between changing oneself to be part of a group or being yourself and being accepted into a group. This is a story about a teenager’s struggle for individuality and freedom.
Everybody was getting the bar code tattoo. People were told that it would make their life easier. However, the bar code tattoo was a way for the government to keep tabs on you. The government was able to tell where you were, what you were doing and what you last purchased. The bar code tattoo resulted in a loss of uniqueness, privacy, and liberty.
As people were discovering the horrors of the bar code tattoo, they were eager to find a way to get rid of it. Society branded those who wanted to remove the bar code tattoo as being sick. Psychiatrists have noted, "The patient can become so desperate to have the bar code removed that he or she resorts to an attempt to burn the bar code from his or her skin" (Weyn 103). Many people went to such an extreme to remove their bar code tattoo that ultimately they died.
Kayla found freedom in her decision not to get the tattoo. The song her mother sang was no longer true for her. She was not a bird; she did not fly away. Kayla knew that she had “found her power and her soul. And her home was inside her. There was no bar code on her wrist, and she felt proud of that. She hadn't given herself over to anything that would control or demolish her -- not to Zekeal, not to Global-1" (250). After running from the things that were looking to destroy her, Kayla followed her heart and her visions to find the place that kept her safe. At the breathtaking mountain that was in her vision, Kayla learned who she really was.
After a long adventure, through thick and thin, Kayla found her true home, her true friends, and her true self. Even in the most difficult situations, one person can make a difference. Just as the American colonists fought for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, so did Kayla and those that fought against the bar code tattoo. Commitment, a willingness to accept risk, and overcoming the fear of failure lead to success in the fight for freedom.
The Bar Code Tattoo was an amazing book. I really enjoyed it. There were a few suspense moments which made this book intriguing. I was hooked on this book from the first time I picked it up. There are two more books in The Bar Code Tattoo series that I cannot wait to read.
This book is a great illustration of how quickly things can change when you are writing of the future. While the novel was created in 2004, not long ago by any means, it already reads as out of date, due to the author having dictated changes that began taking place in 2006, and continued with major events in 2010 and 2011. Unfortunately for me, that kind of thing breaks my ability to suspend disbelief while reading.
The plot, though, was compelling enough to keep me going.
I would not be surprised if a future is in store much like that foretold in this novel; where a tattooed barcode on the inner wrist contains your banking information, medical data, drivers license... and unfortunately much, much more. When the government can track your movements from your wrist being scanned at tollbooths, when they know the cost of every elderly person in the hospital, when they know who spends money wisely and who doesn't, what will they do to control you and force you to comply?
Frighteningly, the line of "If you're not a criminal, it shouldn't bother you" is a tag I've heard applied to all kinds of loss of freedoms associated with the Patriot Act since 9/11. I'm so thankful to be in Canada sometimes. Even in the Barcode Tattoo, Canada is a safe haven where people who want to use cash and remain untracked by Big Brother go to hide.
While it isn't the most artfully written book, it's fun and light and quick to read, great to kill a few hours in the bathtub or to take up a night with insomnia.
I'M SO SICK OF THIS! No more! I don't think I can stand another dystopian "corrupt government controls the world" story, for many reasons! Let me elaborate:
A) They are *always* predictable. Government is somehow corrupt. People are starving. War is on the horizon. Cute boy. Only a small portion of the world is left after the rest was destroyed by savage government sought wars. One person doesn't like the corruption. They make a stand or a display and learn not to do that. Their boy crush helps them. Often will go into hiding, recruit other so and then they make a stand. And somehow, these books mostly come to one person or a group of people ever throwing a corrupt government. Protagonist falls in love, everything's happy because love is there, the devastation and death surrounding them doesn't matter. They're so predictable, ALL THE TIME! This exact description fits every dystopian book I've read, with only opener one or two of those points being incorrect. I CAN'T STAND this repetition! It's always a female protagonist, never male. Often, although not always, the protagonist will lose someone close - either a family or a friend, and they will hardly mourn because all of their attention is consumed with some FREAKING HOT BOY!
And the best part of this is that I wrote this review for a completely different dystopian book, but they're all exactly the same.
To me, this novel was anything but original. Hey, what would happen if the government forced us to all get tattoos that recorded all the information about us on our own skins? See what I mean? This type of novel has been done tons before. Kayla lives in a world where all seventeen-year-olds have to receive a bar code tattoo on their wrists. Of course, the huge conglomerate that owns everything in America (including the government) has included genetic information on the tattoo. Some people receive promotions at work after getting the tattoo, while others, like Kayla's dad, sink into a depression and kill themselves. Basically, the insurance companies are weeding out the weak while giving the strong a chance to improve. Kayla joins an underground movement headed up to the mountains to resist the Party and strengthen their own natural powers. For while the government has been trying to control evolution, nature has been honing Kayla and her friends' psychic abilities. Do I recommend this book? Um, no, not really. But I had it on the plane so had to finish it.
The Barcode Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn is a story about a girl named Kayla who tries to resist the government's ever-expanding control over their people by using the barcode tattoo. Kayla doesn't get the tattoo because her dad died from it and later her mom as well. It was a great idea but poorly executed. It was at a decent pace until after the hospital scene, and then it just went downhill from there. It felt like the author was trying to shove a ton of information at you all at once. There was no time to process anything happening because the author rushed the scenes so much. There are slang words used throughout the book which grated on my nerves; final level, banged out, and astral. The unneeded relationships between Kayla and Zeakel and later Kayla and Mfumble were distracting and disturbing in some places. The book didn't resolve itself, making the ending extremely unsatisfactory. Ultimately, it was a disappointing read which if executed properly could have been a great story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.