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Truancy: A Novel Paperback – February 2, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8–10—Tack, 15, lives in a dystopian society where a corrupt government oppresses its citizens, starting when they are students. A group of young resistance fighters called the Truancy violently strikes back against the system. Tack joins the movement after his sister is accidentally killed in a Truancy attack on a government official. His intention is to murder its leader in revenge, but he finds himself drawn into the group's philosophy and is torn between wanting to bring down the government or destroy the ferocious resistance. This hefty novel is not unlike an action movie or video game. It starts fast and barrels on with not one subtle moment. It is full of elaborate, graphic fights. The characters are amazingly skilled in a wide variety of unbelievable ways. Described as "kids" or "children," they are nonetheless portrayed as expert assassins, brilliant tacticians, even world-weary bartenders. Readers are beaten over the head with how evil the government is, how oppressed the students are, how unsympathetic adults are. According to the back cover, the author wrote the book "in one month the summer of his fifteenth year." He shows a lot of promise, but more experience, in life and in writing, might greatly improve his style. While Truancy may be popular with some readers who feel as though adults don't get them and school is oppressing them, it is a strictly additional purchase for robust SF collections.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The premise of teens combating an oppressive education system will entice readers to this heavily marketed novel centering on a young martial-arts expert who joins the ruthless Truants to undermine them but becomes caught up in their broader mission. Author Fukui is only 18, and his debut harbors many signs of an author still in high school: his writing can be overwrought, and, despite a pacifistic jacket-flap comment, he lingers so gleefully over the carnage as rebel dropouts plunge swords, snap necks, and throw homemade bombs that the message can’t help but seem a little dilute. Most teens, however, will take the combat scenes in the graphic novel–influenced manner in which they were presumably intended, and many will hear—and embrace—the passionate critique of high-school experience wrapped within the Truants’s battle cry: All kids are branded as a single faceless mass and herded through school like cattle. Recommenders, especially those in school settings, will find themselves torn between teens’ interest and the novel’s focus on violence in an educational context. Grades 8-12. --Jennifer Mattson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Maybe I'm digging too far into a book, something that should be an enjoyable read, but I, in my humble opinion, give this book a C-. Dear author, I realize you were my age when I wrote this, but next time, please give out copies of your book to a hundred of your friends, family, editors, and people interested. And have them point out holes in your storyline ( of course, having the book end up online somewhere would defeat the purpose of writing it in the first place, since you very likely appreciate money as much as the next person).
To potential buyers who read the review first (good for you) I strongly recommend not buying this book, but borrowing it from a friend or the library
To people who liked the book, I'm sorry for bashing on your holy Grail of literature. I apologize.
To everyone else who didn't appreciate this book to it's full intended value, thank you for restoring some of my faith in humanity.
Truancy started off pretty good. I was intrigued by this idea of an entire city being used as an experiment. It's not revealed who is conducting this experiment, or where this is even taking place (it's just The City), but the goal is pretty clear. Someone wants total obedience and order from the citizens, and perhaps conditioning them as kids through the education system is the way to go. I also found it interesting how this has been going on for generations, so even though the kids hate school, they enter the system to do it to the following classes. It's just how life is. They take it, and then it's their turn to dish it out.
As much as I liked this whole set up, I found that I didn't actually care about what was happening. Truancy has a ton of action, since the Educators and Enforcers are finally going full force to stop the Truancy, and the Truancy is stepping up their game to end the Educators and Enforcers. It's never boring, but I felt this disconnect from everything. Our main narrator is Tack, who is the latest student to leave the system and join the Truancy, although for very different and personal reasons, but I never grew to care about him. I felt bad for what happened to him and caused him to run away, but nothing beyond that.
The one character I was really interested in was Umasi. He's this combination of "the wise janitor" and Mr. Miyagi. He lives in an abandoned district which Tack wanders into one day, and then he starts answering all of Tack's questions about what happens to students who leave school. Then Umasi starts his training, including menial tasks that seem like they have no purpose at first. Of course, Umasi has to have a secret, since it's odd that those in charge would just leave him alone like that. I wasn't very satisfied with the explanation, but it was interesting.
In the end, I kind of liked Truancy. It held my interest, but it was more like I was just reading to be doing something rather than becoming invested in the characters and events.