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Flash Point Hardcover – November 8, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sixteen-year-old Amy isn’t eager to be on a reality show, but she needs the money, especially with Gran’s illness. The Collapse has put most of her dreams on hold, but getting a job with medical benefits becomes one of them. The show, a sort of low-rent Hunger Games, brings together a group of kids, puts them in crisis situations, and asks the audience to vote on what they will do. Kress, a respected sf writer, is at her best coming up with scenarios to challenge the teens and show the shifting alliances. Several of the characters also intrigue. But there’s a lot going on here that is never fully integrated into the narrative. The Collapse-induced riots sometimes seem like background noise: a presidential assassination barely gets a mention, and a corporate merger seems an unnecessary complication. What this does have, in spades, is a high-energy momentum that will keep pages turning—sometimes just to avoid the political backstory—but mostly because readers really will want to find out what happens to their faves. Just like on a reality show. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

Review

“Breakneck, twisty plot. The day-after-tomorrow setting, anchored by brand-name allusions and crises ripped from the headlines, adds both eerie familiarity and terrifying plausibility.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“High energy momentum that will keep the pages turning… readers really will want to find out what happens to their faves.”—Booklist

"During an economic downturn there is always a flash point, when things can either get better or become a complete disaster. Amy, a teenager during the flash point, had dreams of an academic future until the downturn hit in the worst ways. She is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and her defiant younger sister. When she is offered a steady salary, medical care for her entire family, and the chance of a lifetime on a new reality TV show, she can’t turn it down. The risks for this show get more extreme and the rewards continue to grow. The line between reality and TV are starting to blur, and soon Amy is asking herself what is worth risking her life. Kress captivates the reader from start to finish by creating characters that come to life within this gripping plot. This book is hard to put down!"—LMC
 
"Amy, 16; her sister; and their sick grandmother are just barely making ends meet since the “Collapse.” Amy works a low-paying job to cover the rent on their rundown apartment. When she stumbles into a job interview at a television station, she’s offered a spot on a new show called Who Knows People, Baby–You?–complete with a cash advance and full medical benefits for her family.  In this new reality show, viewers vote on what they think the six participants from vastly different backgrounds will do in each new situation presented. The voters can win large sums of money for being good judges of human nature. But for the teens on the show, waiting for the next surprise scenario to unfold becomes extremely stressful. As interest in the show reaches a fever pitch, producers will stop at nothing to get the ratings they need, even putting the contestants in grave danger. This is a high-interest book, but the high page count will scare off reluctant readers. However, for those who get hooked, it is a real page-turner. Several of the teens on the show are true individuals, easy to remember and realistic in their responses to the scenarios. With the moral dilemmas it poses, both in interactions among the teens and on the part of the station’s adults, this would be an excellent novel to prompt discussions about reality TV and ethics."–SLJ --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (November 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670012475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670012473
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,897,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MGT on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Intending to read a few chapters, then go make dinner, I sat down and started to read. A few hours later, dinner was leftovers, and I was happily emerging from the near future dystopia that was so skillfully drawn by the author. The book is tense and fast paced, and the characters are engaging. I couldn't put it down.

The story takes place in our world after an economic collapse leaves many previously comfortable individuals on the brink of disaster. Amy, the main character, is a sixteen year old responsible for her ill grandmother and troubled younger sister. A disturbing job interview sets Amy on the road to a new life. She can support her family, but never knows what is real and what is staged for a reality show where she is one of the stars. The artificial dangers become very real as the show's producers raise the stakes in order to raise their ratings. Amy and the other "stars" sometimes help, sometimes hurt each other as they try to navigate their increasingly bizarre situation. None of them emerges unchanged.

This was an excellent book. I highly recommend it . Just don't think you can pick it up and only read a few chapters.
You can't.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on March 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Flash Point (2012) is a standalone SF novel. It is set after the 2014 presidential elections. The economy is still failing and many people are unemployed. But some see signs of an upturn.

In this novel, Amy Kent is sixteen years old, She lives with her younger sister Kayla and her dying grandmother. Amy occasionally sees visions.

James Taunton is the owner of Taunton Life Network. He is involved directly in the production of new shows.

Myra Townsend is an employee of TLN television. TLN is known for its unusual programming. Myra is a producer on a new show for teenagers.

Alex Everett is the other producer on the new show. He used to produce porn.

Mark Meyer is the primary technical expert for TLN. He is highly involved in the new show, but would rather not be. Management is not his strong suit.

In this story, Amy goes for a job interview. She has to fill out a detailed application and take some long tests. Then she waits in the hiring hall.

The old warehouse is cold and so is the restroom. The interview itself is held in a warm conference room. Four people are present in the room. One is a pleasant middle aged woman, who asks most of the questions. The other three are men.

After the interview, Amy walks home. She doesn't have bus fare and the 102 blocks seem very far. Arriving, at home, she first checks her grandmother and finds her asleep in the bed. She awakes as Amy comes into the bedroom.

Then someone knocks on the apartment door. A cop has caught Kayla shoplifting. Amy gives him the rent money to let her go.

Then Myra calls to invite her to an audition. Amy arrives early and watches for other visitors. First a boy shows up and then the girl she knows as Violet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louise Marley on January 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It's so hard to find good young adult science fiction. There's lots of fantasy--and some might consider this novel fantasy, too--but it feels like sf to me, with solid worldbuilding, good near-future tech, a believable and very human young protagonist, and a great set-up. I fully expected it to be beautifully written, because it is, after all, Nancy Kress. It's also a compelling story, with plenty of action and character development, and every step of the story is fun. Nothing wrong with having fun!

I'll be recommending this to all younger readers and lots of older ones, too. Excellent read!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I had mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand I liked it, because I really liked the main character, but on the other hand there were a few things that kept me from really immersing myself in the book.

First, there were quite a few characters that I just didn't like, first being Amy's sister Kaylie. This was, to me, one of the most spoiled, selfish girls I've ever met in a book. And I couldn't understand really why she was that way because it's not like they had a lifestyle that could spoil someone. But she was kind of rotten, so hard on her older sister, and so very unappreciative. I hated reading scenes that she was in because I knew she was just going to run down her sister, say something ugly or act like a brat.

On the flip side, Amy was my favorite character. She was kind, brave, and took care of her family selflessly. I hated some of the things she had to go through, and truly hated it whenever the viewing public would be down on her in their internet posts because I knew they weren't getting to see the real her.

It seems like everyone in the story turns out not to be who you expected though, except for Amy. There's more to Rafe, there's less to the other guy, Violet had secrets, and the other girl had more humanity than I gave her credit for.

My biggest problem came with the actual show itself. While I could definitely understand why the viewing public might watch such a show (after all, this world is one of poverty for the common man, so the chance to win millions would be a big draw), but the way the show scenarios were created just didn't seem to be all that interesting. It was a good concept, but I felt like the actual scenes were kind of pointless and uninteresting, at least up until the end.
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