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Expiration Day Hardcover – April 22, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765338289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765338280
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #611,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—It's the year 2049, and human fertility has drastically declined worldwide. On the brink of a societal collapse, the Oxted Corporation developed teknoids, highly sophisticated robots that stand in for children and are leased to surrogate parents. These teknoids are virtually indistinguishable from human children, and society has become relatively normalized to their presence. This is the world that 11-year-old Tania Deeley inhabits. As she starts secondary school, she begins to wonder which of her friends and classmates are human and which are robots. Even scarier, teknoids are returned to the Oxted Corporation on their 18th birthdays—they are truly children without a future. As Tania moves through adolescence, she begins to rebel more and more against a society in which teknoids are second-class citizens who are "deactivated" at age 18. This is an in-depth exploration into a dystopian society and what it truly means to be human, with many universal teen themes as well: music, romance, body image, family issues. Tania and her friends have believably complex relationships, with the added stress of figuring out who is and is not a teknoid and what that means for relationships. Taking place over several years, the story line, told through diary entries, moves at an uneven pace at times, especially as it races (confusingly) to the end. Still, fans of sci-fi and dystopian fiction will appreciate this tale.—Jenny Berggren, formerly at New York Public Library

From Booklist

In 2049, almost all humans are infertile. Tania has always been told that she is a rarity—a human girl—in an age when most children are teknoids, sophisticated androids built by Oxted Corporation to console the childless and reduce the riots that ensued when “hope for the future” was lost. When Tania returns to school after the summer, she notices that her best friend has changed, but are those changes natural or upgrades purchased from Oxted? Will she be able to figure out what is human and what is not before the teknoids’ designated expiration day—their collective eighteenth birthday? Though this debut novel’s premise—that without the ability to have children all of civilization would go insane—is at times unbelievable, it nonetheless raises very interesting and meaningful questions about philosophy, humanity, personal choice, and feminism, which could lead to rich discussions. Hand this title to fans of Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale (1986), and Veronica Roth’s Divergent (2011). Grades 8-11. --Candice Mack

More About the Author

William Campbell Powell was born in Sheffield, England, and grew up in and around Birmingham. He attended King Edward's School in Birmingham and won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge, where initially he studied Natural Sciences before switching to Computer Science. He now lives in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, with his wife and two teenage sons. "Expiration Day "is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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This is an awesome debut novel by a very talented writer, as he's come up with a unique premise with interesting characters!
Alexia
In the grim future presented in the book, robots have become so advanced, so human-like in every aspect, they can pose as real human beings.
Evie Seo
I do like the way the author's mind works and I would visit another book of his in the future, but this one just wasn't for me.
OutlawPoet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"Impossible dreams. The toy that becomes a real child.
Me."

William Campbell Powell's Expiration Day is a truly remarkable novel that works on many different levels: as a poignant cautionary tale, a family drama, and a bone-chilling futuristic vision of a human society facing extinction. This powerful and thought-provoking story may not be the most fast-paced thriller ride you'll ever be taken on, but make no mistake, it will still leave you riveted and completely mind-blown. And I can promise you two things: you will be in tears by the time you hit the last page and you will be thinking about the plot and the characters long after you put it down.

It's year 2049 and humankind is losing hope. Women can no longer conceive, less and less children are born each year, and the society is forced to take extreme measures to keep things under control. In the grim future presented in the book, robots have become so advanced, so human-like in every aspect, they can pose as real human beings. Androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation are sold to desperate couples unable to have their own children. They do everything a real human child would do. They eat, sleep, laugh and cry, attend school, form friendships. They even feel and dream, and most of them live their lives unaware of the fact that they're not, in fact, human.

Expiration Day follows the story of Tania Deeley, a girl who dreams of being a famous bass player. The book assumes the form of a diary written by Tania, in which she shares her thoughts and feelings, and describes everything (or almost everything) that happens to her from the day she gets the diary app from her parents. Tania has a creative, brilliant soul and a very curious mind. She asks questions, wonders about things.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Garrison VINE VOICE on March 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I saw the cover copy for this book and some posts on Goodreads, I was immediately intrigued. The idea of a dystopian society with sharply declined fertility (as in the PD James book "The Children of Men") that addresses the irrepressible need to parent and nurture a child by providing (leasing, actually) android children to infertile parents was compelling, especially with the "hooks" that 1) kids can look around them and not always know which of their peers are "real" vs android, and 2) all androids are supposed to be returned to the company at age 18. So before I dove in, I was all excited -- this definitely sounded like my kind of book. And then, in the first chapter or two, I was hit with red flag after red flag, warning signs that this book might be more frustrating than exciting for me. Before I go into all the details (first the things that bothered me, and then the ways in which the book more than redeemed itself for me), I want to point out how very glad I am that I pushed through and kept reading. The book comes together in a way that is both gratifying and thought-provoking, and does a great job of exploring what it means to be human, to create, to love, and to dive forward into the future rather than waiting for it to happen.

What were those red flags for me? The book is largely written as a diary. In of itself, that isn't always problematic for me -- there are some such books I love -- but I do think that it's a style that is hard to pull off well. Here, that was complicated by the fact that the protagonist Tania is pretending that she is writing her diary for an alien anthropologist who will find it long after she dies, and so some of the most emotionally compelling moments in the book are disrupted by cheesy aside comments to "Zog", as she names her hypothetical alien.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Knapp on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Eleven year old Tania addresses many of her diary entries to a made-up alien reader she names Mr. Zog. Tania tells Mr. Zog about her more-or-less average life...in a world where most couples are childless, and so robot babies have been perfected to age just like real children, and fulfill maternal and paternal instincts.

The science doesn't really hold up, but debut author William Campbell Powell has included lots of interesting "what ifs" in the story. As the book progresses, Tania has an accident, exchanges digits with a boy, forms a band, becomes entranced with Shakespeare, loses a parent, and faces a secret that has ripped many families apart. "Intervals" come every few chapters, filling the reader in on who has found the diary and is is reading it within Powell's story.

A very inventive debut. Although Tania starts out age 11, I think the ideal reader for the book is mid teens or older -- because the lure of the story (for this reader, anyway) is in the depth of the world Powell creates, and the questions he poses (What makes us human? What is a family?) not specifically in the action of the story.

Easy to recommend to thoughtful mid-teen sci-fi/fantasy fans, who like to think while they are reading.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: electronic review copy from the publisher
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Expiration Day portrays a dystopian world teetering on the brink of extinction where robots have been manufactured to replace children because the human race is dying out. Seen as a salve to the remaining humans who can no longer reproduce, these robots are set to "expire" on their eighteenth birthday. Enter young Tania who we first meet at the tender age of 11 and follow through her adolescent years. She challenges her very nature through her creativity and her relationships.

I never quite bought into the basic premise of Expiration Day. Why would parents choose to accept replacement children with full knowledge that they would be taken away at eighteen? Much reference is made to the concept of the Uncanny Valley, and while I understand the author's point, I never was able to grasp hold of the world he attempted to create. Part of this was due to a curious lack of emotion throughout this story, stilted dialogues, and a plotting format that killed any energy in the narrative, making this quite a slog to get through. Characters sometimes behaved in ways that defied logic and with little to no world building to back up their choices, the story fails to engage. This should have been some really compelling stuff, but moments that should have been very dramatic and suspenseful, most often fell flat, victim of a dispassionate narrative voice.

I've never been a fan of the diary format, and I don't think it worked well here. The ending is the high point of the novel, where for the first time, the world is revealed and emotions are on full display. Yet still, it left me unsatisfied as the author tried to deliver everything too quickly. There are some fine ideas in this novel, but I was just not a fan of the execution.
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